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Cologne Chamber Orchestra

Idioma disponible: inglés
Germany's oldest chamber orchestra, the Cologne Chamber Orchestra, applies insights from the historical-performance movement to readings of Baroque and Classical-era music on modern instruments. The group has a long recording history and, since 1995, has been a fixture of the Naxos label's catalog. The Cologne Chamber Orchestra (in German, Kölner Kammerorchester) was founded in 1923, drawing its membership from the larger Cologne orchestras of the day. From the beginning, the group's mission was to perform early music, not at all a common specialty at the time, and its inaugural concert featured works by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and Tomaso Vitali, the latter two then known mostly to specialists. The concert was part of a series mounted by the Society for New Music. The founding conductor was Hermann Abendroth, and the orchestra, over its long existence, has had only five principal conductors. Abendroth was succeeded in the early 1930s by Erich Kraack, who moved the orchestra's base of operation to the Cologne suburb of Leverkusen and founded an ongoing series of concerts at the Bayer Kasino hotel owned by the pharmaceutical giant. This series attracted major international soloists. Kraack's successor was Helmut Müller-Brühl, who ascended the podium in 1963 and the following year, took the group on a tour of Switzerland, featuring pianist Wilhelm Kempff. That was the first of many Cologne Chamber Orchestra tours, which have covered Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The first of the orchestra's more than 200 recordings came during the LP era. Between 1976 and 1986, the orchestra performed as the Capella Clementina on historical instruments, accomplishing many innovations in historical performance. It reverted to modern instruments in 1987, but Müller-Brühl continued to apply historical-performance principles in his conducting. The following year, he inaugurated the series Das Meisterwerk, with concerts held at the new Cologne Philharmonie. The series often identified and engaged promising young performers, including violinist Julia Fischer, who appeared at a Das Meisterwerk concert at 17, and pianist Christoph Eschenbach. As of 2021, the series continued at the Philharmonie. The group also made recurring appearances at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris and at Munich's Prinzregententheater. The Cologne Chamber Orchestra was signed to the Naxos label in 1995 and has since recorded regularly there. In 2000, the orchestra began a complete recording of Bach's orchestral music (suites and concertos), and it has also recorded a series of symphonies by Haydn and Beethoven. Müller-Brühl remained conductor until 2009 when he turned the baton over to Christian Ludwig (Müller-Brühl made his final appearance in 2011). Ludwig was succeeded by Christoph Poppen, who was named the principal guest conductor in 2013 and principal conductor the following year. In 2021, after a hiatus of several years, Poppen resumed the orchestra's Naxos recording program, joining the West German Radio Chorus Cologne for an album featuring Mozart's Mass in C major, K. 317 ("Coronation"), and Missa Longa in C major, K. 262.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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