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Classical - Released March 19, 2021 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
«Between the publication of the Second Book in 1701 and that of the Third Book, ten years went by, during which Marais established himself as a composer of "tragédies lyriques". In the meantime, however, a number of young viol players, some of whom had been his pupils, had just published their first collections of pièces de viole. Marais therefore had to reaffirm his position as the reigning master of the genre, a mission accomplished to perfection with this new opus, in which he strove to offer his public easier pieces alongside others that of a more demanding nature, in order to ‘satisfy those who are more advanced upon the viol’. His style had changed too: here, character pieces form an increasingly important complement to the traditional suites.» (© Ricercar)
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Classical - Released February 12, 2021 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
To our modern minds, the idea of not holding on tightly to one's own intellectual property is a complete anathema. By the same turn, artistic works that can't be indisputably attributed to a single named creator are mysteries to be solved rather than accepted. However, while plagiarism was beginning to become a concept during the seventeenth century, an artist was still only likely to see it as an important issue if they were planning to publish their works for commercial gain. If not, and if they were part of a collaborative family musical dynasty, it was much less of a thing to get hot under the collar about. Apply that background now to the Bauyn manuscript – one of the most important sources for French 17th century harpsichord music – and you begin to understand how some of the greatest jewels are, rather frustratingly, attributable to a single “Monsieur Couperin”, rather than to one of the three Couperin brothers operating in that period: Louis (1626-1661), François I (1631-1710) and Charles (1638-1679) whose son was the famous François Couperin. Because while these works have mostly been attributed to the one with the most glittering career as a harpsichordist, Louis, more recent research suggests he's not a good match for every piece. Instead, they're more likely to be a mixture of Louis and Charles, with perhaps the odd piece from the slightly less gifted François I. Hence the title of this Couperin-shaped offering from Brice Sailly, recorded in May 2020 at the Château de Mongeroult on a copy of a Tibaut de Toulouse harpsichord. This programme's scholarly contribution lies less in making hard and fast pronouncements on authorship, and more in drawing our attentions to the fact that the programme's pieces are likely to be the work of more than one Couperin; all while employing the numbering given to them in Bruce Gustavson's edition of the Bauyn manuscript. All of which may sound rather academic to the average listener, but it's interesting the extent to which awareness of that context does add to the listening experience. Plus, it's good news when it comes to how it actually sounds. For starters, the overall capturing is lovely, giving us a nice, up-close and natural, but also polished sound. Then Sailly's readings themselves are thoroughly ear-grabbing, with the fluidity of his shapings and the range of his expression. From the gossamer-weighted high-register wistfulness of La Pastourelle, to the dark, sighing beauty of the Pavane in F-sharp minor with its fuller textures, to the bright ceremonial grandeur of La Piétmontoise, this should appeal whether you're new to this repertoire, or simply wishing to hear it with new ears. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 8, 2021 | Ricercar

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Recorded in February 2020 in the new Elizabethan Theatre of the Château d'Hardelot (Pas-de-Calais), whose architecture is inspired by the past and fits comfortably into the present, this new album by the Clément Janequin Ensemble is dedicated to songs by the great Franco-Flemish composer Josquin des Prés, one of the first composers whose immense reputation allowed him to be published during his lifetime, a distinguished honour in those remote times when the musical press had just been born in Venice. This little revolution allowed music to be spread widely throughout Europe. This splendid recording directed by Dominique Visse underlines the diversity and noble harmony of this incomparable music with a choice of monophonic or polyphonic songs, by turns melancholic or grimy, exalting the melodic vein of Josquin. Songs with five or six voices discreetly supported (as was the practice at the time) on the lute, spinet or organ. They are often a reflection of the harshness of times and sing of regretz, tristesse, a languishing heart and a whole host of painful emotions. The other side, on the contrary, offers us exuberant songs in a popular vein, with frankly sexual and bawdy connotations. We will also find in this fascinating anthology a beautiful tribute to Josquin, in the form of a musical monument, from the pen of Nicolas Gombert, musician to Charles V; a polyphony with six voices that takes up a melody of which Josquin des Prés was fond. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 20, 2020 | Ricercar

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‘Fear not...’ The Angel’s words to the shepherds suggest the daring premise of this recording, which, for Ricercar’s fortieth anniversary, enriches in highly original fashion the series dedicated to the discovery of early instruments and their repertory. The cover illustration, depicting two angels playing the bass shawm and the bassoon, perfectly portrays the subject of this disc devoted to the original repertories written for the two instruments in seventeenth-century Germany, whether it be the ceremonial music of the Stadtpfeifer (town musicians), chamber music or even sacred compositions. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released November 13, 2020 | Ricercar

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In the 1960s, the blossoming interest in the rediscovery of early music was due in part to instrumentalists who also played a very active role in creating the newest contemporary works. It was in this context that Pierre Bartholomée wrote a Tombeau de Marin Marais for the musicians of the Alarius ensemble (Janine Rubinlicht, Robert Kohnen, Wieland and Sigiswald Kuijken) who played in the Musiques Nouvelles ensemble at the same time. The musicians of that generation are in a sense the ‘ancestors’ of those who became the first artists on the Ricercar label. This recording, released as part of Ricercar’s fortieth anniversary celebrations, thus pays tribute to Bartholomée’s pioneering initiative by reissuing a remastered version of his composition alongside recent works written for the period instruments of some of the label’s key ensembles in 2020. © Ricercar
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Chamber Music - Released October 30, 2020 | Ricercar

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Luigi Zenobi, a virtuoso cornettist known as ‘Luigi del cornetto’, was born in Ancona in the mid-sixteenth century. He later moved to Vienna, where he entered the service of the Emperor Maximilian II. His reputation grew and he subsequently worked for the Este family in Ferrara, where he was the most respected and best-paid musician at court up to that time, so sought-after were his talents. Luigi was also a painter, poet, miniaturist and music scholar. An eyewitness recalled the delicacy of his playing: "softer than the harpsichord when its lid is closed". Giovanni Sansoni, a composer and cornettist probably originally from Venice, was born around 1593. He was engaged by Archduke Ferdinand of Austria in Graz in 1613 and followed him to Vienna when he became Emperor in 1619. He sent his compositions to Saxony, and the young Schütz sent him former choirboys to be taught the cornett and the bassoon, two instruments on which he was an absolute master. Sansoni became the inspiration for the great instrumental composers of the first half of the seventeenth century in Vienna. These two legends of the cornett have one thing in common: they were both knighted by an emperor, Zenobi even calling himself "Cavaliere del cornetto". © Ricercar
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Classical - Released October 2, 2020 | Ricercar

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After devoting a recording to sonatas by Giuseppe Tartini, for this anniversary year of the illustrious Paduan virtuoso, Evgeny Sviridov offers us a recording of Violin C
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released September 25, 2020 | Ricercar

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Andreas Hammerschmidt is undoubtedly the most unjustly neglected composer of seventeenth-century Lutheran Germany. Very few recordings have been devoted to him, even though his music was widely published during his lifetime. The fifteen or so published collections offer a great variety of works, which, like those of his famous contemporary Heinrich Schütz, illustrate the fusion between the Lutheran polyphonic tradition and the various stylistic influences of the Italian Baroque. For this musical portrait of Hammerschmidt, Vox Luminis has drawn on several of these collections in order to offer as rounded a picture as possible of the variety of the composer’s styles. The entire programme is structured around texts for Passiontide and Easter, introduced by an intensely moving madrigalian motet on the death of Christ, Ach Jesus stirbt. An evocation of Passiontide and Easter in the company of Andreas Hammerschmidt, one of the most unjustly neglected composers of seventeenth-century Germany. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released September 18, 2020 | Ricercar

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A pupil of Mozart, Johann Nepomuk Hummel was one of the most admired pianists of his era. His career began in Vienna at the time when Beethoven had just moved there. Like the latter, he belonged to that generation of composers whose output may be categorised somewhere between Classicism and burgeoning Romanticism. In addition to an extensive catalogue of original compositions, including piano works of high quality, Hummel also made numerous arrangements for chamber forces of orchestral compositions. Among these were the piano concertos of his teacher Mozart and the symphonies of his friend Beethoven, all of which he transcribed for piano, flute, violin and cello. The Romanian pianist Aurelia Visovan offers this particularly original programme for her album as winner of the 2019 Bruges MA Festival competition. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released August 28, 2020 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
The first notes of the descending chromatic theme break the silence and it seems as if time has stopped. The listener is drawn into the world of John Dowland, the greatest lutenist of all, in a journey through multiple shades of melancholy and lucent hope. Never before had the lute sounded as expressive and colourful as in these masterful Fancies, as dynamic as in these sparkling dances: Renaissance lute music here reached its summit. Bor Zuljan explores these qualities in his debut solo recording, breathing new life into Dowland's masterpieces. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released August 14, 2020 | Ricercar

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released August 14, 2020 | Ricercar

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François Devienne (1759-1803), sometimes nicknamed the ‘French Mozart’, was equalled famed for his talents as a flautist and a bassoonist. He was one of the first professors at the Paris Conservatoire, established in the early years of the Republic. Devienne devoted a large proportion of his compositions, in several different forms, to the two instruments of which he was a virtuoso exponent. The programme presents several of his trios, which combine the violin and the cello with the two wind instruments in turn. These works possess all the charm of the galant aesthetic that developed in the late eighteenth century, along with a certain penchant for virtuosity. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released April 17, 2020 | Ricercar

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With its ciaconna bass, Hammerschmidt’s sacred concerto Nun danket alle Gott perfectly exemplifies the programme of this recording devoted to the influences of the Italian Baroque on the works of seventeenth-century Lutheran composers. The vast majority of the repertory gathered here comes once again from the exceptionally rich library assembled at the end of the seventeenth century by Gustav Düben, organist of the German Church in Stockholm. His collection contains the only known copy of a Confitebor tibi, Domine by Claudio Monteverdi. Other composers such as Bernhard and Rosenmüller had very close links with Italy and were among those who helped to disseminate Italian practices in the German-speaking lands. In all this sacred repertory, the role of instruments, and particularly that of the violin (the emblematic instrument of Italy), is highly developed. The instruments accompany the voice and comment on the texts in most expressive fashion. This programme also offers a chance to discover some gems by lesser-known composers such as Hanff, Pfleger and Pohle. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released April 3, 2020 | Ricercar

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In his Musick’s Monument of 1676, Thomas Mace described in great detail numerous aspects of contemporary musical life in London. This volume evokes all the characteristics of English music, going back to the most glorious years of the Renaissance, with a particular emphasis on the repertory written for consort of viols. While his writings describe the performing practices of the time, they also provide invaluable information on instrument making, which has enabled L’Achéron to build a ‘set’ of six viols following Mace’s indications. For this new project of English music, the ensemble inaugurates a new virginal and an organ made in accordance with the famous theorist’s specifications. The programme comprises fantasias, ayres and dances by composers who brought this viol consort tradition to its peak, including Alfonso Ferrabosco, John Ward, William White, Thomas Lupo, Richard Dering, Giovanni Coperario, William Lawes, John Jenkins and Christopher Simpson. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released March 13, 2020 | Ricercar

Booklet
The sudden death of Henri Ledroit in 1988, at the age of just forty-two, left music-lovers in a state of shock. His voice was new and unique among the French singers of the time and during his first encounter with Alfred Deller at a training course in Lacoste, the two of them hit it off immediately. The famous English countertenor was impressed by his trainee’s exceptional talent and strongly encouraged the young singer. From then on, Henri Ledroit’s career took off, both in concert as well as on stage with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and René Jacobs. In 1986, he sang as Ottone in Claudio Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppaea at the Lausanne Opera (Théâtre du Jorat), which had just opened under the direction of Renée Auphan. The production, directed by Michel Corboz and staged by Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser, would go down in history and the visual recordings of the performance are a testament to this. The great work of Du Mont is now being rediscovered thanks to the tireless efforts of Belgian musicologist Jérôme Lejeune under the Ricercar label and is intended to be played by the ensemble with the same name, under the direction of Jean Tubéry and Philippe Pierlot. This recording of Henry Du Mont’s Motets à voix seule from the early 1980s also features the vocals of the early Gérard Lesne. A pioneering work that can be heard today with all its original emotion intact. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released March 13, 2020 | Ricercar

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Classical - Released March 6, 2020 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Johann Paul von Westhoff (1656-1705) was one of the most brilliant members of the significant school of violinists that flourished in seventeenth-century Dresden. This impressive virtuoso, who was even applauded by Louis XIV at Versailles, wrote the very first compositions for unaccompanied violin, which of course foreshadow the later masterpieces of Johann Sebastian Bach. The programme recorded here includes some suites from his collection published in Dresden in 1696, as well as the suite that was printed in the Mercure galant of Paris in 1683, following his visit to Versailles. © Ricercar
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Chamber Music - Released January 17, 2020 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
A short-lived instrument which has long since disappeared, the arpeggione is a weird and wonderful creation. Dreamt up with the wild imagination of the Austrian luthier Johann Georg Stauffer, who specialized in guitars, this instrument which was invented in 1823 is a kind of 6-string guitar that is played with a bow. It was rather awkward to play, the six strings and the shape of the bridge making the bowing particularly delicate. The arpeggione has long since joined the cohort of instrumental oddities forever populating dusty museum windows, testimony to the creativity of curious inventors. A guitarist himself, like many young romantic men, Schubert became so interested in this instrument that he dedicated a sonata to it. Mainly played today on the cello, it was made famous in the 20th century by the legendary recordings of Emmanuel Feuermann in 1937 and then of Rostropovitch with Benjamin Britten in the early 1960s. It is now commonly played by cellists. Guido Balestracci has crafted a programme around this famous sonata with transcriptions of works by Schubert for rare instruments: fortepiano, terz guitar, archlute and, of course, an arpeggione reconstructed by the Italian luthier Paolo Giuseppe Rabino in 2011 based on an instrument made in Prague in the 19th century. Although this rehabilitation is not the first on record, it nevertheless allows us to recover a strange sound that we thought had been lost. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 1, 2019 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Giovanni Battista Colonna (1637-95) spent most of his career in Bologna as maestro di cappella of the basilica of San Petronio. Since he had at his disposal this imposing building with its two choir organs, well known to lovers of the instrument, and its very generous acoustics, Colonna wrote a large number of sacred compositions for imposing vocal and instrumental forces. But, in a more intimate vein, he also devoted two collections to the repertory of ‘small motets’. The pieces recorded here come from the 1681 set of Motetti a due e tre voci (1681). They display a wide variety of formulas, combining traditional elements and innovative aspects that were to be further developed in the following generations. These gems are highly representative of the style of small motets that heralds the stile concertante. They are characterised by various combinations of voices (from solo recitative to a mixture of vocal duets or trios in different scorings) and a broad range of formal structures bound up with the very nature of the texts. © Ricercar