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Symphonic Music - Released March 20, 2012 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles de Classica - Exceptional sound - Hi-Res Audio
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Concertos - Released April 21, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
Georg Philipp Telemann was one of the most prolific composers of the Baroque era, and his extremely varied oeuvre reveals a knack for experimentation and instrumentation that went beyond routine assignments of parts to conventional groupings. The works on this 2017 Harmonia Mundi album from the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin feature various combinations of trumpets, flutes, oboes, horns, timpani, and the standard deployment of strings and basso continuo, but also the mandolin, the hammered dulcimer, the harp, and the extremely rare calchedon (also called mandora, galizona, or gallichon), the long-necked lute depicted on the cover that was typically used as a bass instrument. The Akademie's brilliant performances in a historically informed style would make this program attractive even if the music were mundane, but these are among Telemann's most vivid concerted pieces, and the imaginative combinations and colorful playing are sure to please listeners, including the most jaded critics of Telemann's facility. Harmonia Mundi's recorded sound is immaculate, and the acoustics of Teldec Studio in Berlin give the group a delicious resonance. Highly recommended as one of the finest albums of 2017.
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Classical - Released February 5, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Chamber Music - Released March 4, 2011 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
Bach's unfinished Art of Fugue, published for still-debated reasons in open score, has been performed and recorded in dozens of different instrumental versions. But this one, by the veteran Akademie für alte Musik, founded in the former East Berlin, is unique; few others have differentiated the fugues by instrumental forces deployed, and perhaps in none has the overall effect been quite so kaleidoscopic as this one. The rationale for this remains a bit uncertain after perusal of the booklet notes (in German and English); the group members write that, as with other instrumental versions, they aim to "achieve transparent and legible textures," but their "real motivation in tackling the work was the pleasure of plunging together into the structures, harmonic language, and chromatic content of this music, in which an ensemble can make extraordinary discoveries through musical and instrumental confrontations." The Akademie für alte Musik is not a historical instrument group, and there are no claims of any kind for authentic performance. Instead there is a shifting set of forces with a few recurring groups or individual players: a string quartet, a solo keyboardist, small wind groups, various pairs of strings in the canons, and tuttis including the entire ensemble of strings, three oboes in different ranges, bassoon, trombone, and keyboard (either harpsichord or organ). The shifts in instrumentation do not correspond to the work's broad sections (simple fugues, fugues in augmentation, double and triple fugues, and the awesomely complex mirror fugues), and it's hard to find a pattern of any kind. The motivation is murky, but the effect is pleasing if the listener approaches the music in the same sort of freewheeling spirit that the performers seem to have; the incredible concentration demanded by the Art of Fugue, which may or may not have been intended as a work to be performed from start to finish, is replaced by a light sense of anticipation that is extrinsic to the work but not fundamentally alien to it. This is the kind of recording for which sampling will reliably place the potential buyer into the pro or anti group. The sound engineering, a product of Berlin's Teldex Studio, is a major strong point.
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Classical - Released July 7, 2017 | BR-Klassik

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Cantatas (sacred) - Released May 25, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Bach's "Dialogue Cantatas" generally portrayed Jesus in dialogue with the human soul, first tormented and then at peace. The three cantatas selected here by Berlin's Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, which has, over the years since 1982 (with over a million records sold!) brought together musicians from the city's different orchestras – first those under Soviet rule and then all orchestras following the fall of the Wall – are a part of this genre; all date from the great Leipzig period, specifically the third cycle written by Bach for Leipzig in 1726. It will come as no surprise, hearing these cantatas, that the essence of the first arias is desperate, heart-rending: and as they go on, they move towards relief and joy. It is in these first moments that we see Bach at his most intense, most pained, most chromatic, terribly modern as well as at his most romantic, profoundly lyrical and yet rigorous in the musical discourse. The most superbly original piece is surely the Cantata BWV 49, which begins with a Sinfonia with obbligato organ – in which the listener will recognise the final movement of the Harpsichord Concerto in E Major, when Bach recycled it a dozen years later – and continues with an aria with cello and oboe, both soloists immersed in the soprano's joyous voice; and we finish on a magnificent chorale with an aria – the aria being for the bass of the solo organ, while the soprano part sings the chorale's theme from on high: a staggering display of modernity. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released April 15, 2013 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
With more than 500 concertos to choose from, it is easy to select an attractive program of Vivaldi's orchestral music. Indeed, some would argue that with such depth of repertoire, it would be hard not to assemble such a program. But one way or another, one would have to agree that the six works on this 2007 Harmonia Mundi disc make up a singularly attractive program. It opens and closes with two three-movement concerto grossos for string orchestra, and at its center are four enchanting concertos for four different sets of soloists. Each work and each set of soloists is first-rate and the quality of the playing raises even the most familiar work here to new heights. The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin is a suave-toned, sweet-tempered, supremely virtuosic period-instrument orchestra that has demonstrated its excellence many times before. As led by violinist Georg Kallweit in all but the opening Concerto Grosso in G minor, the Akademie seems born to play Vivaldi. The suppleness of the tempos, the intensity of the intonation, and the fire in the tone ideally suit Vivaldi at his energetic best. It would be hard to pick out a single favorite, but if you want just a sample of what the Akademie can do with Vivaldi, try the penultimate Double Concerto in A minor for two violinists featuring Kallweit and Midori Seiler. The fire in the outer Allegros and the passion in the central Larghetto e spiritoso are simply scorching. Harmonia Mundi's sound is crisp, colorful, and deep.
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Classical - Released April 7, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released July 19, 2019 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet
The Akademie für Alte Musik reveals its performance of Handel’s first six concertos from Opus 6 in true chamber music spirit, which sometimes brings Handel’s universe closer to that of his continental counterpart, Georg Philipp Telemann, whose work has often been played and recorded by the Berlin ensemble musicians (including several indispensable albums for the French label Harmonia Mundi). For this magnificently recorded first part of their Handel trilogy, which includes the two opuses 3 and 6, recorded in the Nikodemuskirche in Berlin between September 2018 and February 2019, the Akademie für Alte Musik paints rich, striking colours (already showcased in their album Water Music) while remaining attentive to polyphonies and phrasing. This record is a real pleasure throughout, and perhaps even more compelling than their recent album Water Music. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 1, 1998 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released June 22, 2010 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released May 27, 2013 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
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Symphonic Music - Released March 11, 2011 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
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Classical - Released November 18, 2008 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released November 11, 2007 | harmonia mundi

Harmonia Mundi's Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Symphonies & Concertos in HM Gold series is a reissue is the second entry among a pair of excellent C.P.E. Bach discs by the Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin, recorded in the late '90s. To be fair, of the two this is probably the lesser release, although that's not by a margin of very much; one wishes Raphael Alpermann's harpsichord was a little louder in the Concerto in C major H. 654/Wq. 20, but that's about the only inequity between this and the other disc. This concerto appears along with the "first" cello concerto and three additional symphonies; Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin, handles all of these works with an unbridled, no-holds-barred exposition of this Bach's sense of aggression and otherness, yet with crisp, precise playing that remains exceptional in its energy and drive. Bach's stormy Symphony in E minor H. 653/Wq. 178, is a particular standout owing to the stirring and well-intoned playing of the Akademie's period brass. The music is compelling, exciting, propulsively rhythmic, and the listener will likely forget that these are, after all, classical period symphonies; the intention here is to pay lip service to Bach's reputation as a progenitor of romantic style. From such a standpoint, this disc works very well and is highly recommended.
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Classical - Released January 15, 2008 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released January 19, 2015 | harmonia mundi

This disc by the ever-outstanding Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin, features "alternate universe" Johann Sebastian Bach concertos and includes a wholly new reconstruction of the Violin Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052R, by the Akademie's concertmaster Midori Seiler. Whereas earlier reconstructions, of which there are several, used Bach's own harpsichord arrangement of the now-lost violin original, as her point of departure Seiler has pressed into service Bach "Son Number 2's" slightly earlier harpsichord arrangement of about 1734. Ironically, the younger Bach's ineptitude in converting the violin part into an effective keyboard solo has, for Seiler, provided additional clues to its true nature. Certainly this is a very effective rendering of what Bach's original might have sounded like, and Seiler's own performance of the solo part is a passionate and winning outing that will make one forget about such messy editorial details. Three other transcribed Bach concerti fill out the program; Bach's own arrangements of the Fourth Brandenburg Concerto (as BWV 1057), the "double" violin concerto for two harpsichords (BWV 1062), and the reconstructed Concerto for violin and oboe, BWV 1060R, heard in C minor here rather than D minor as is sometimes done. Of these, BWV 1057 seems the least successful, and that's just by virtue of the first-movement Allegro being as brisk as it is -- the tempo is so breathlessly zippy that it doesn't seem to give the music time to breathe, and sometimes the low instruments seem challenged in keeping up with the pace. Nevertheless, that's the only complaint; otherwise, Harmonia Mundi's Violin Concerto, BWV 1052, is about everything one could want from a disc of reconstructed concerti played by a period ensemble -- the sound is great and the performances are of such a high standard that it even puts the famous Neville Marriner recordings of similar Bach reconstructions on the defensive.
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Classical - Released November 6, 2007 | harmonia mundi

Upon beholding Harmonia Mundi's release Ouvertüren für die Hamburger Oper (Music for the Hamburg Opera) and its front cover illustration of neatly periwigged nobles seated in boxes at the opera house, one might think -- "it's all Telemann, right?" However, one would be wrong; after all, this is the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin one of the world's most provident and incisive period instrument ensembles. It has limited the scope of Ouvertüren für die Hamburger Oper to the first 50 years of the operation of the Hamburg Opera, from 1678 to 1726. What Ouvertüren für die Hamburger Oper exposes is a rich vein of totally unknown Baroque orchestral works in splendid, shimmering, and exciting performances that make full use of the known instrumental resources of the period. Variously labeled Suite, Ouverture, Concert, and Sinfonia, all but one of the five pieces here takes the form of the Baroque dance suite, consisting of several variable short movements. These are played by Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin with such excellence that it is difficult to single out a highlight, but if pressed, Philipp Heinrich Erlebach's Ouverture No. 4, composed in 1693, is a real ear opener. The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin does not subscribe to the long-held notion that percussion was not important to the Baroque orchestra, or simply did not exist -- they use it conspicuously and with taste. When the percussion gets going, along with continuo and the violins, you really feel the dance-like qualities of the music, and in the Air/Menuet I/II of the Erlebach, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin literally "gets down." To some degree this condition also applies to the works by Georg Caspar Schürmann and Reinhard Keiser. Telemann's friend George Frideric Handel is represented by the ballet suite from his first opera, Almira, and one can hear why Handel's no-nonsense music, with its emphasis on clearly articulated melody, was so different in comparison to his contemporaries. The Concert musicaux No. 1 of ultra-obscure composer Johann Christian Schieferdecker is notable for its smooth textures and sheer beauty -- the concluding Chaconne is gorgeous. To those already familiar with the talents of Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin Ouvertüren für die Hamburger Oper should not be a hard sell. For others who might not be familiar with the group nor its subcutaneous choice of repertoire, Ouvertüren für die Hamburger Oper is about as good as Baroque orchestral music gets.
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Classical - Released November 20, 2008 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released December 20, 1997 | harmonia mundi

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