(born on 1968)
Available languages: EnglishBaroque violinist Rachel Podger has combined specialist knowledge with an accessible public persona, collaborating with many historical-performance groups. In the 21st century, she has also emerged as an important educator. Podger was born in England in 1968. Her primary education was at a Rudolf Steiner school in Germany, where she took up the violin early. In England, she studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, with Pauline Scott and David Takeno. At this point, the Baroque violin was still rarely taught in British conservatories. Podger, applying to study the instrument in her first year, was turned down because, she was told, the school's only Baroque violin had already been given to another student. Refusing to take no for an answer, Podger acquired a Baroque violin, and secretly took lessons with Micaela Comberti at Guildhall. During this time, she also worked with her brother, Julian Podger, who had formed the Trinity Baroque ensemble in Cambridge. Eventually, Podger was able to take regular classes on the Baroque violin, and she found a ready market for her talents, both as a soloist, and as a chamber music group leader. One of Podger's earlier groups was the Palladium Ensemble, which had a distinctive sound with a viola da gamba, and one or more plucked instruments (no harpsichord) for a continuo. In 1991, she co-founded the successful Baroque group Florilegium, specializing in music from the 17th through 19th centuries. She also performed with the London Baroque, among other groups, during this time. The Palladium Ensemble was featured in a major rising-groups concert at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in 1996. The following year, Podger became the leader of the well-established English Concert, remaining in that position until 2002. Since then, she has often conducted Baroque groups from the violin. She became guest director of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in 2004, leading the group on a tour of the U.S. She would also become the guest director for other early music ensembles, including the Santa Fe Pro Musica, and Musica Angelica. Podger often performed as a soloist with the Academy of Ancient Music, another long-established Baroque group. In 2007, Podger founded Brecon Baroque, specializing in the music of Bach and his contemporaries. Podger has also established an extensive teaching career, having taught at the Guildhall School, as well as the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen, and the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. In 2008, she became professor of Baroque violin at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Podger has often recorded for the Channel Classics label, releasing a cycle of Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin in 2002. Her recorded repertory has extended as far forward as Mozart, but most of her recordings involve Baroque favorites. In 2018, she released a recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons violin concertos with the ensemble Brecon Baroque, as well as a solo album: a transcription of Bach's solo cello sonatas for Baroque violin.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 26 maart 2021 | Channel Classics Records
Think of the uncompleted fragments Mozart left behind at his premature death in 1791, and the Requiem is probably the one that springs most easily to mind. However Mozart also left a significant body of unfinished concerti, chamber and piano solo music, and it's four violin and piano fragments that form the basis of this programme from Baroque violinist Rachel Podger with Christopher Glynn: three sonata Allegros in B-flat major, A major and G major, plus a Fantasia in C minor, all dating from Mozart's final decade in Vienna (that's to say, when the violin sonata had developed from its beginnings as what was effectively a piano sonata with violin colour, to a true partnership of equals) and now completed by Royal Academy of Music Deputy Principal Timothy Jones. As for Jones's approach, given that these completions are part of a wider project to use these fragments to improve our understanding of Mozart's music as a whole, he has used them to test out some hypotheses about Mozart's working methods and the evolution of his style: what would happen if he wrote fast; paid attention to the immediate stylistic context of each fragment; kept to each fragment's stylistic principles, but while continuously inventing rather than repeating (because Mozart never repeats himself). Each fragment has been completed multiple times, each testing a different hypothesis, and what has then ended up on this recording are two contrasting options for each of the sonata movements, along with the first of his completions of the Fantasia. This might sound a bit heavy-going if musicological academia is not your thing. But read on, because the good news is that whether musicology gets your pulse racing or has you breaking out in a cold sweat, the bottom line is that this is essentially just good music, beautifully played. From Podger, these are elegantly shaped, cleanly defined and unfussily natural readings, and she's been closely partnered by Glynn on the fortepiano with equally deft articulation and a jewel-like tone that makes his fastest passagework especially lovely. What's more, it's been programmed to sound like a concert rather than a comparative exercise, so rather than each sonata fragment's pair of completions having been placed side by side, they've instead been divided across two groups, separated by the Fantasia. So certainly this is one for Mozart lovers as much as musicological detectives; although once you've familiarised yourselves with the melodic material, you may actually find your appetite growing for some comparative hopping around on your own. Essentially though, there's something for listeners of all shapes here. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz