Benjamin Alard’s ambitious survey of Bach’s complete keyboard music goes from strength to strength as the focus shifts to Italy for this fourth, three-disc volume.

Benjamin Alard

We’re into contested waters here, Bach’s Italian concertos defined by their emphasis on transcriptions (predominantly of Vivaldi) and ignominiously relegated in critical standing as a result. Unfairly so on the strength of these sparkling performances, each of the three discs divided between a crisp, crystalline 1702 Mattia De Gand harpsichord in Treviso’s Museo Santa Caterina, a delightful, modern Humeau pedal harpsichord based on a 1720 Fleischer instrument, and a characterful 1710 Silbermann organ in Marmoutier’s Abbaye Saint-Étienne.

Glossed, they may be, with romantic visions of a country Bach never visited, but Alard finds much of interest and merit...