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Liederen - Verschenen op 3 september 2021 | Alpha Classics

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Reinoud van Mechelen and his ensemble A Nocte Temporis continue their "Haute-Contre Trilogy" with Rameau’s favourite singer, Pierre de Jéliote, probably the finest haute-contre in history (Reminder: this is a high tenor voice, not to be confused with the countertenor!). Rameau wrote an enormous amount of music for Jéliote, who was not only a singer but also a guitarist, a cellist and even a composer. The album pays tribute to this native of the Béarn region, who was born in 1713 and died at the ripe old age of eighty-four, with a selection of airs by Rameau (from Hippolyte et Aricie, Les Fêtes d’Hébé, Platée, Castor et Pollux, Les Boréades) but also by Dauvergne, Colin de Blamont, Mondonville, Rebel and Francoeur. Though some are well known, others are much more rarely performed today. © Alpha Classics
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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 27 augustus 2021 | Signum Records

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Counter-tenor Iestyn Davies and the viol consort Fretwork present a new recording of German works for viol consort and voice drawn from 17th-century, following their critically-praised 2019 album of works by Michael Nyman and Henry Purcell. Featuring performances from organist Silas Wollston and counter-tenor Hugh Cutting, the recital ranges widely over the 17th century – from the early years with three curiously similar sounding friends: Schein, Scheidt and Schütz, to the most significant member of the Bach family before Johann Sebastian, Johann Christoph Bach. From their they travel down North Sea to the foothills of the Alps, including Buxtehude’s predecessor at the Marienkirche in Lübeck – Franz Tunder (whose daughter Buxtehude was to marry) and another north German composer who worked in Copenhagen, Christian Geist. Giovanni Felice Sances is an outlier here: he was born in Rome, but spent the second part of his life working for three successive Emperors in Vienna, where viol playing was still very much in vogue. In 2021, Fretwork celebrates its 35th anniversary. In the past three and a half decades they have explored the core repertory of great English consort music, from Taverner to Purcell, and made classic recordings against which others are judged. In addition to this, Fretwork have become known as pioneers of contemporary music for viols, having commissioned over 40 new works. Iestyn Davies is a British countertenor widely recognised as one of the world’s finest singers celebrated for the beauty and technical dexterity of his voice and intelligent musicianship. © Signum Classics
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 16 juli 2021 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Decca Classics is thrilled to announce a new Baroque album from violinist Nicola Benedetti. This is the first album she has released on a period set-up including gut strings, and she is joined by a leading group of freelance baroque musicians, forming the Benedetti Baroque Orchestra - for the very first time. The album features a selection of concerti by Vivaldi plus Geminiani’s incredible arrangement of Corelli’s La Folia, one of the oldest western classical themes which has been arranged by many composers over time, particularly in the baroque era. Geminiani was one of the greatest violinists of the era and Corelli was one of his teachers whilst growing up in Italy. Later when he moved to London, Geminiani reworked a number of Corelli’s works for local audiences including this arrangement of La Folia. © Decca Classics
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 16 juli 2021 | harmonia mundi

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To say that young French baroque violin star Théotime Langlois de Swarte has begun his solo recording career with a bang of prolificity and brilliance is something of an understatement. First, in 2020, we had “The Mad Lover”, a beautifully conceived and executed concept album exploring the 17th century English notion of melancholy via composers such as Henry Purcell and John Eccles. Then at the start of 2021 came Proust, “Le Concert retrouvé”, recreating a 1907 concert at the Paris Ritz programmed and hosted by Marcel Proust. Now here’s “Générations”, an album every bit as fine as its predecessors, with also a couple of key differences. Topmost of these is that, while Langlois de Swarte’s chamber partners for those first two albums were rising stars of his own generation, in the form of lutenist Thomas Dunford for “The Mad Lover” and pianist Tanguy de Williencourt for Proust, his “Générations” partner is fifty years his senior – early music luminary, William Christie, with whose Les Arts Florissants Langlois de Swarte plays in addition to his own period ensemble Le Consort. Then also because this isn’t so much a concept album as one aiming to ignite modern interest in a forgotten star of early eighteenth century French instrumental music, Jean-Baptiste Senaillé (1697-1764), by placing his sonatas alongside those of a famous violinist figure of the generation just above him, Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1730). What both composers have in common is their melding of Italian virtuosity with French music’s characteristic elegance, melodicism and dance allusions. It almost goes without saying that Christie and Langlois de Swarte make for a delectable musical match, but the closeness of the partnership really does shine out. The recording sessions took place in the living room of Christie’s home in the Vendée, giving them both an intimate environment with no time constraints, and the album opens with one of the fruits of that privileged set-up: a lyrically melancholic Gavotte in E minor by Leclair, originally for two violins, which the pair transcribed for harpsichord and violin, Christie adding a second melody line for himself. As for Senaillé, “a minor figure but a great master”, is how Christie himself describes him, and that analysis feels spot on. Take the Sonata in G minor, Op. 1 No. 6 from his Premier Livre de Sonates à violon seul avec la basse continue, published in Paris in 1710, whose opening Largo prelude strikes instantly for its emotional intensity, and for the satiny smoothness with which Langlois de Swarte delivers his violin line’s wide intervallic leaps; and the pair produce something very special as they dig deep into its dark mournfulness. Pleasures of a different shape then come with the concluding Gavotte’s virtuosic violin writing, including ear-grabbing double-stopped passages. Or for a particularly colourful instance of Senaillé taking the Italian style and making it his own, jump to the final Allegro assai of his third book’s Sonata in D major, Op. 3 No. 10 (this one published 1716): a syncopated, stabbing bass drone from the harpsichord to start, onto which the violin dances a rustic folky melody which later incorporates cuckoo call bariolage – a Vivaldian motif in itself, but one that’s here thoroughly reimagined into a French musical style. Essentially, you can hear exactly why all five of Senaillé books of sonatas were reprinted numerous times in his lifetime. Also why, for Langlois de Swarte, the only way is up. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 25 juni 2021 | Arcana

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In 2018, the Styriarte Festival in Graz launched, in collaboration with Zefiro, a project to rediscover the operatic output of the Styrian composer Johann Joseph Fux (1660-1741), Kapellmeister at the imperial court in Vienna for forty years, with the aim of restaging six of his nineteen operas, one per year. With a cast of Baroque vocal specialists, led by Monica Piccinini and Arianna Venditelli, this set of Dafne in lauro marks the beginning of a new series in which Arcana will release the recordings made in the course of the six-year cycle. First performed on 1 October 1714 to celebrate the birthday of the Emperor Charles VI, Dafne in lauro is distinguished by the numerous references to hunting in the overture and in Diana’s arias, and by the numerous dance movements typical of the French style, such as minuets, gigues and bourrées. The highlight is Daphne’s poignant aria accompanied by the viola da gamba, which, along with the chalumeau and the transverse flute, enriches the range of tone colours in the score. © 2021 Arcana
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 25 juni 2021 | Paraty

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"This Valette is one of the most stupendous geniuses we have and his music is stupendous too". This is how the famed Sebastian de Brossard introduces his contemporary composer Joseph Valette de Montigny. Though acknowledged for its qualities, Montigny’s music has very rarely been played. Nor has it ever been recorded. Simply on account of its rarity and the absence of scores, it has remained unpublished. Thanks to this recording on which two great motets are performed, Antiphona Ensemble and its director Rolandas Muleïka are filling a vacuum. These motets are two outstanding pieces in Joseph de Montigny’s catalogue. Musicologist Benoît Michel, who died at a very young age, was the main instigator of this felicitous rediscovery: he would undoubtedly have felt enthusiastic about the release of this recording. This presentation draws to a large extent upon his work. © 2021 Paraty
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Divers - Verschenen op 25 juni 2021 | Brilliant Classics

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The only complete survey available of the keyboard music written by a forward-looking contemporary of Monteverdi. Giovanni Picchi (1572-1643) flourished in Venice, notably as the organist at the Scuola di San Rocco. He became renowned as a composer of both secular and sacred music, attested by his presence in the Nobiltà di dame by Fabrizio Caroso, the most important collection of dance music of the time. A collection of his canzone was published in 1625 and his fame spread to England, where a Toccata for Harpsichord was transcribed within the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (of which Brilliant has recently released the first-ever complete recording). In 1619, Picchi published Intavolatura di balli d’arpicordo, one of the rare collections of music for keyboard moulded on contemporary dance music. The majority of Picchi's dances are composed in pairs. Three of the four Passamezzos are followed by a Saltarello in triple meter. The short dances in duple meter (Ballo alla Polacha, Ballo Ongaro and the Todescha) conclude with either a balletto or saltarello in triple meter. The Padoana ditta la Ongara and the Ongara a un altro modo obviously form a single composition consisting of variations. Other important sources for his keyboard music include collections published in Venice in 1621 and an undated collection of intablatures (transcriptions and elaborations of music by other composers) which is now held in Turin. Together they amount to some of the most brilliant and appealing music for the harpsichord from 17th-century Italy. Picchi’s harmonic language was especially daring, and his flair as a performer is reflected in the style of his writing, which exploits the full range of the instrument. In complement to Picchi’s work, Simone Stella has chosen other jewels from Venetian composers of the time: toccatas, ricercare and canzone by Annibale Padovano, Claudio Merulo, Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli and Vincenzo Bellavere. Bellavere is another neglected figure nowadays, but the Toccata recorded here is a gloriously ornate example of the genre, alternating intricate counterpoint with filigree decoration. Played on the harpsichord by Simone Stella. © Brilliant Classics

Liederen - Verschenen op 18 juni 2021 | harmonia mundi

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Henriette de Coligny, Comtesse de La Suze, was more than just a woman of letters admired in her time, even by the very demanding Boileau. It was as a free woman that she married for love; after the death of her husband, a second one was forced on her, but, still a free woman, she demanded to be ‘de-married’! Surrounded by expert musicians, Marc Mauillon shows us that her précieux poetic universe mixes tenderness with the most unexpected strokes of audacity, so much so that her verse inspired many composers of the Grand Siècle –and after! © harmonia mundi
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 juni 2021 | Ricercar

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It's always a wonderful thing when a dream-team of artists resurrects and ravishingly records lesser-known repertoire, and that's precisely what we have here from Leonardo García Alarćon's Capella Mediterranea, joined by sopranos Mariana Flores and Julie Roset. Alive roughly between 1582 and 1629, musician-courtesan Sigismondo d'India was writing just as the late Renaissance style gave way to the early Baroque, and in parallel with Monteverdi he was a key figure in developing that new musical language – one which broke free of the fixed rules of polyphony, and moved instead towards monodies in a more mannered style whose raison d'être was to express heightened emotion; D'India then consolidated that new, intensely expressive way of writing in the five books of accompanied monodies he produced between 1609 and 1623. And if all that sounds a bit textbook, the bottom line is that the selection of madrigal-esque accompanied pieces for one or two sopranos Alarcon has presented over this generous two-disc programme plunge the listener into such a world of silence-imbued, soulful melancholic beauty and contemplation that, once you've dived in, re-surfacing feels thoroughly painful. Of course it's Flores and Roset who play the starring roles in all this magic. In tonal quality alone they've been brilliantly cast, their respective ethereally pure voices a perfect match both for each other and for the music, Flores's tones just a shade softer and darker than those of Roset. Then there's their warmly expressive readings of the texts, and the technical control and colouristic nuance of their embellishments as they gently float their lines. Essentially, you're mere seconds into their curtain-raising duet, Ardo, lassa, o non ardo?, when you've clocked that this is album is a gold-plated keeper. Meanwhile the sensitive support from Cappella Mediterranea – appearing here in a chamber subset of lute, theorbo, harp and viola da gamba, led by Alarćon at the harpsichord and organ – is exquisitely delicate, lucid-textured and seductively shaped; tone-setting and responsive in equal measure, they've given Flores and Roset everything they need to bounce off. Listen to any one of these tracks in isolation and you'll give yourself a precious few minutes of contemplative bliss, but I'd be surprised if one proves to be enough. Essentially, this is an album to lose yourself in. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 9 april 2021 | Pierre Verany

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Sebastián de Albero is less well known than his contemporaries José de Nebra, Antonio Soler, the great Farinelli, and, of course, Domenico Scarlatti. Nonetheless, his sonatas are appreciated by many harpsichordists who readily include them in their repertoire alongside those of Scarlatti, Soler, or Seixas. However, his oeuvre, limited owing to his premature death at the age of 34, gives us a glimpse of a musician brimming with originality and creativity. Sebastián de Albero died in 1756, leaving a collection of 30 sonatas, made up of 14 pairs of sonatas in the same key, and two fugues, one in position 15 to mark the end of the first part, which figures precisely in this recording, and the other at the very end to definitively close the cycle. Like Scarlatti’s sonata collections, Sebastián de Albero’s was found in Italy, specifically in Venice’s Marciana Library, surely brought by Farinelli, to whom Queen Maria Barbara had bequeathed her musical library as well as some of her keyboard instruments. It is interesting to pause for a moment on the case of the first two sonatas on this programme, which in fact seem to be related to two sources: first, with Sebastián de Albero at the beginning of his collection (Sonatas 1 and 2), and also in the copy of a collection of sonatas attributed to Scarlatti (Sonatas 11 and 12). This latter collection belonged to Ignacia Ayerbe (or Eyerbe), a young harpsichordist and very probably a student of Albero’s. It was seemingly Albero himself who introduced his own sonatas among those of the Neapolitan master, in homage to his colleague. This would prove to us that the two musicians knew each other and that they might have collaborated. Certain sources advance the hypothesis that Albero was one of the copyists of the collections of Scarlatti sonatas intended for Queen Maria Barbara. Yet a notable difference between the two emerges from the theme used by Albero, which is already closer to the aesthetic of musicians of Northern Europe, in particular Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach, who opened the way to the new tastes that were dominant throughout Europe in the late 18th century. (© Maria Raskin translated by John Tyler Tuttle / Pierre Vérany - Arion)
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 2 april 2021 | Alpha Classics

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During his lifetime, Rameau enjoyed a glittering reputation and was admired by all Europe, while Debussy’s Hommage à Rameau proves that his fame survived down the centuries. But what do we know about the rest of the Rameau family? After a highly acclaimed album devoted to the Forqueray family, the harpsichordist-genealogist Justin Taylor sets out on the trail of Jean-Philippe’s son Claude-François and his nephew Lazare. To be sure, Rameau’s genius dwarfs all around him, as is demonstrated by such pieces as La Livri, La Poule and L’Égyptienne, not to mention the magnificent Nouvelle Suite in A minor, but the music of his descendants has its own interest. Justin Taylor introduces us to a work by Claude-François Rameau (La Forqueray) and the Sonata No. 1 in E major by Lazare Rameau. He switches from the splendid harpsichord of the Château d’Assas (a two-manual instrument of the first half of the eighteenth century, attributed to the Lyon-based maker Donzelague) to the 1891 Érard piano of the Musée de la Musique in Paris for Debussy’s tribute to his great predecessor. © Alpha Classics
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 26 maart 2021 | Passacaille

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Vivaldi’s Concerti ripieni are probably the most unusual works written by the Venetian composer. Some of these pieces, however, are particularly exceptional for various reasons, especially considering the artistic environment in early 18th century Venice. This recording presents Vivaldi’s most brilliant and at the same time bizarre works from this genre. These compositional experiments are sometimes quite extreme and far ahead of their time, such as the enigmatic Concerto conca, the solemn Sinfonia Al Santo Sepolcro, the avant-garde and at the same time archaic Concerto alla Rustica. This recording is the first collaboration of the Academia Montis Regalis with Enrico Onofri as principal conductor. © Passacaille
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 26 maart 2021 | Claves Records

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The Mass in B minor holds a very special place in J.S. Bach’s output: a work of grandeur, an opus ultimum, it was not composed as such but is the result of an assembly of pieces written at different times and for different circumstances. Bach worked on it during the years 1748-1749, until his eyesight, which had gradually deteriorated, was completely lost. The idea of bringing together pieces drawn essentially from the vast corpus of cantatas was not unusual; a similar approach was taken by several of his contemporaries, such as Handel, and Bach himself had done so for the short masses he composed in the late 1730s. These were called parodies. Moving from the German text of the cantatas to the Latin text of the masses meant adapting the vocal lines, with additions and deletions, polyphonic and harmonic enrichments, and changes in instrumentation. Throughout his life, Bach never ceased to revisit his works with a view to improving them. Imagining the production of a monumental Mass, which can be seen as a musical testament to him, Bach began by exploring the repertoire of his own music, while studying various Masses by other composers that were available to him (and among the scores he studied was Pergolesi’s Stabat mater, which he himself had adapted). He decided above all to use a mass (Missa in Lutheran language) composed in 1733 after the death on February 1 of Augustus the Strong, ruler of Lutheran Saxony, on which Leipzig and Catholic Poland depended. It consisted, as was the case with the Lutheran masses, of the Kyrie and the Gloria, the music of which was largely original (only four of the nine pieces in the Gloria come from earlier compositions). But Bach wanted to compose a Mass with the different parts of the Catholic Ordinary, with the Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei. Faced with the magnitude of the two movements of the Missa, each as impressive as the other, Bach was compelled to write a large Credo. © Claves Records

Klassiek - Verschenen op 19 maart 2021 | harmonia mundi

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Here is the work of a genius who died at the age of twenty-six: Pergolesi's Stabat Mater is one of the miracles of eighteenth-century sacred music. Nourished by their experience of ‘setting in resonance’ early and contemporary repertories, Riccardo Minasi and the Hamburg musicians shed an astonishingly modern light on these moving pieces, in which the voices of Giulia Semenzato and Lucile Richardot intertwine in the most sublime of communions. The Stabat is echoed by Joan Rossell’s poignant Salve Regina, long attributed to Pergolesi himself. © harmonia mundi

Klassiek - Verschenen op 19 maart 2021 | harmonia mundi

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Formed in 2008, Sebastien Daucé's Ensemble Correspondances is now firmly established as a byword for quality and creativity in the performance of early music, with their acclaimed revivals of both the known and the long-neglected sacred and secular music of seventeenth century France, and with a rich discography to match. This latest recorded offering now sees them step out beyond France's borders for a foray into the Germanic repertoire, the headline pieces being a major work each from Dietrich Buxtehude and Heinrich Schütz. Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri (“The limbs of our Jesus”) opens the programme. An ambitious seven-part cycle of Passion cantatas over which an unnamed observer slowly raises their gaze from the feet of the scourged “Man of Sorrows” to his face, this was composed in 1680 for Buxtehude's friend Gustav Düben. Düben was music director to the Swedish court, and the work was probably commissioned for a court occasion, most likely premiered in the galleries of the German Church in Stockholm, which the court church at the time. Buxtahude's own official role was as organist at Lübeck's Marienkirche – a title which, in contrast to the kantor role which would have obliged him to be churning out new liturgical music every week, allowed him to compose when and how he wished, thus cutting no corners on quality. That's very apparent in this cycle, which book-ends poetic texts set as strophic arias with biblical words set for full instrumental and vocal forces, all couched within an imaginative tonal progression which opens with the feet in the darkest tonalities using flats, before gradually moving through to the brighter, sharp tonalities as the eyes move up towards the face (although it's eventually a C minor close, for architecture's sake). Daucé's personal contribution to the mix has then been to prepare a new edition from the original performing parts which has further enrichened the colouristic and textural palette: adding a viola part for three of the cantatas; changing the allocation of stringed bass instruments so that the viol and violone aren't systematically playing with the continuo or violins; having two voices to a part for the chorus numbers, thus clearly distinguishing between soli and ripieni. Add Ensemble Correspondances's expressive, crisply articulated and suavely blended vocal performances, and the lucid delicacy of the instrumental support, and the results are very fine. Schütz's major offering meanwhile is his late-career masterpiece, Die sieben Worte (“The Seven Words”), which inventively combines motet-like settings with expressive recitative. However the programme's joys aren't limited to its headline events. For instance there's also Schütz's Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott, a vocal concerto with densely contrapuntal instrumental textures which here grabs from the off with the beautiful puritan sobriety of the ensemble string tone, and the gently impassioned soprano entry. Then, for a real rarity, complementing mourning music from Buxtehude is the state music-redolent Lamentum by Swedish organist Ludert Dijkman (c1645-1717), written at the passing of two Swedish princes. It'll be fascinating to see where Daucé turns next. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 26 februari 2021 | Flora

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Buxtehude’s Opus 1 and Opus 2 Sonatas for violin, viola da gamba and harpsichord belie the composer’s common image as austere and sober. They instead delight the listener with what Johann Mattheson, writing in 1739, called their « unfamilar progressions, hidden ornamentation, and ingenious colourations ». It comes as no surprise to learn that the Sonatas were a great success when they were first published in Germany in the 1690s, in the midst of the fashion for the "stylus fantasticus" (described by Athanasius Kircher in 1650 as “…especially suited to instruments. It is the most free and unrestrained method of composing, it is bound to nothing, neither to any words nor to a melodic subject. It was instituted to display genius, and to teach the hidden design of harmony and the ingenious composition of harmonic phrases and fugues"). These Sonatas are undoubtedly challenging, which is no doubt why there have been so few complete recordings. For their fourth album, the founding trio of Les Timbres – Yoko Kawakubo, Myriam Rignol, and Julien Wolfs – take up the challenge with brio, joyously returning to their roots in Baroque chamber music to uncover all the intricacies of these very special works. © Flora
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 19 februari 2021 | deutsche harmonia mundi

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 12 februari 2021 | Arcana

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The Musicalische Exequien of Heinrich Schütz, composed for the ceremonial obsequies of Heinrich II Posthumus, count of Reuß-Gera, is probably the best-known example of German funeral music of the seventeenth century. However, it is not an isolated piece; there were in fact a great number of virtually unknown vocal compositions from the same period, which were commissioned to commemorate the death of specific personalities and performed at their funeral services. The third album from Voces Suaves on the Arcana label offers a fresh perspective on Schütz’s famous masterpiece, complementing it with works by other major German composers of the seventeenth century such as Rosenmüller and Schein. The music is performed by singers and a continuo group without any additional instruments, so that the focus remains throughout on a flexible vocal presentation of these striking and moving works. © Arcana
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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 8 januari 2021 | CPO

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It is difficult to understand why the twelve sonatas by Johann Philipp Krieger recorded here are almost completely forgotten today. Those who listen more closely to them will discover a rich cosmos of melodic, harmonic, and stylistic ideas that could hardly be rendered more vividly in musical tones. These Baroque sonatas seemingly randomly join together the most sparkling strands of pearls – short and very short little movements, spontaneous ideas, witty episodes, and oscillating emotional states in what are rapid and above all fascinating sequences. They are to be understood as little scenes of a musical drama “en miniature”. Krieger’s sonatas structured in small units recall characters on the stage in their careful design and perfect compositional-technical elaboration. They engage in cooperative action, oppose each other, and react to each other, enter into musical dialogue or competition, fall in love with each other and rise up in mutual embrace, and laugh or cry together – just as in real life. © CPO
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 9 december 2020 | Alborada

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« These transcriptions take full advantage of the characteristics of the theorbo, the fourteen-string baroque guitar with its deep and full sound which becomes absolutely fascinating and rich with Zapico. While his playing is highly sensitive, he also dares to make the music edgier, sharper and more expressive. So, Zapico delivers 50 minutes of music of gripping intensity and inner power. The always songful pieces, for all their inviting friendliness, are also complex, and are presented in a light that one neither can nor wants to escape. The sound of the recording is equally splendid.» (Pizzicato, January 2021 / Remy Franck)