I love Bach, but there seems to be a constant assault on the man's music. I've heard countless lifeless performances and recordings that deconstruct his mathematical, fractallian counterpoints and melodies to soulless, half-dead theory exercises for robots. This is not one of those recordings.
Under Rinaldo Alessandrini, the Concerto Italiano performs the pieces with great emotion and liveliness, as they manage to make the classical ensemble music literally (not literally) leap of the sheet music and run around like a stag in a...parking garage? The tempos are towards the faster end of the spectrum, but not unnecessarily so (*coughcoughGlenGouldcough*).
The recording quality is magnificent. Ever single part is heard in absolute clarity, and balanced immaculately. This is splendid, because every part is performed near-flawlessly. The use of period instrumentation on this recording gives it an astounding depth of tone-color and lush, rich ambiance. The solos are without-fail virtuosic--of particular note is the harpsichord cadenza in the fifth concerto (supposedly performed by Bach himself at the premier!).