Originally released between 1975 to 1991 on the now-defunct Calliope label, Andre Isoir's recordings of the complete organ works of Bach have been unanimously acclaimed by both the press and the public. La Dolce Volta now offers these landmark recordings (unavailable since 2008), completely remastered, in a deluxe, specially priced boxed set. The set includes a 152 page, full color booklet rich with photos and information about the music and the recordings.
A one-disc, 20-track condensation of Mercury's two-disc, 50-track anthology ANYWAY THE WIND BLOWS, THE VERY BEST OF J.J. CALE is the one J.J. Cale CD to have when you're having only one. Leading off with a new recording of "Call Me the Breeze", featuring Johnny Cash's R&B-playing son John Carter Cash, THE VERY BEST OF J.J. CALE runs through 19 other Cale gems, including the original versions of "After Midnight" and "Cocaine", both made famous by Eric Clapton. The surprise to new listeners used to the more showboating Clapton versions will be how laid-back and seemingly offhand Cale's originals are. That goes for every song on this set. A master of the two-minute blues, Cale plays and sings with remarkable restraint and economy. There's no one like him.
Bach's Coffee Cantata BWV 211 & Peasant Cantata BWV 212 are secular and very light. The librettos are innocuous and sometimes silly; however, there's a playfulness and joy of life which redeem them. Bach's music is often glorious and well brings out the play and joy. Reviews I have read of the Tafelmusik recording have been rather unkind, noting that neither Tafelmusik nor the vocal soloists display sufficient charm and joy for the high-spirited moods of the music. I can't deny that Hogwood's vocalists are better than Tafelmusik's. Suzie LeBlanc can't match Emma Kirby for youth or high-spirits, and tenor Nils Brown pales next to Rogers Covey-Crump. However, Brett Polegato is very good in the baritone role. Tafelmusik does present a darker atmosphere than Hogwood, and I'm sure that the reviews have considered that a negative.