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Hasse, C.P.E. Bach & Hertel: Cello Concertos

Alexander Rudin

Classical - Released May 27, 2016 | Chandos

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Les voyages de l'Amour

Ensemble Meridiana

Chamber Music - Released May 27, 2016 | Chandos

Booklet
For its 2016 release on Chaconne, Chandos' early music line, Ensemble Meridiana has chosen the theme of love, and selected several Baroque pieces that flirt with the subject by Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, Jean-Fery Rebel, and Michel Corrette. The ensemble plays period instruments and brings considerable knowledge of authentic Baroque practices and styles to its performances, but Les Voyages de l'Amour is far from a dry, scholarly presentation, because the players infuse the performances with great enthusiasm and deliver the music with vivid colors and delightful virtuosity. The Simphonie pour l'arivée des Génies Elémentaires is the only excerpt from Boismortier's opera-ballet, Les Voyages de l'Amour, but it opens the program with high energy and prepares the way for other vibrant chamber pieces. Rebel's Les caractères de la danse is a comparable tour de force of Baroque dance forms and sonorities, though the Sonate Sixième for violin, viola da gamba, and harpsichord is a somewhat sober piece in a formal and abstract vein. But the playfulness and bright instrumentation of Boismortier's Premier ballet de Village en trio, Op. 52 restores the program's buoyant mood, and the subsequent Sonate III, Op. 14, the Concerto à cinq parties, Op. 37, and the Sonate IV, Op. 37 offer a variety of instrumental combinations that refresh the ear. The Concerto comique VI, Op. 8, "Le Plaisir des Dames" by Corrette is a vigorous romp that allows the ensemble to show off its skills, and brings the album to a rousing finish. © TiVo
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Comédie et tragédie, Vol. 2

Tempesta di mare

Classical - Released March 1, 2016 | Chandos

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Sweelinck: Works for Keyboard, Vol. 3

Robert Woolley

Classical - Released February 26, 2016 | Chandos

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Harmonische Freude: Works for Baroque Oboe, Trumpet & Chamber Organ

Austral Harmony

Classical - Released July 1, 2015 | Chandos

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Smith & Handel

Julian Perkins

Classical - Released May 5, 2015 | Chandos

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J.S. Bach: 6 Trio Sonatas (Arr. R. Stone for Chamber Ensemble)

Tempesta di mare

Classical - Released June 3, 2014 | Chandos

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Bach: "Italian" Concerto, "French" Overture & Other Works for Harpsichord

Steven Devine

Classical - Released May 1, 2014 | Chandos

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Mancini: Solos for a Flute

Gwyn Roberts

Classical - Released April 1, 2014 | Chandos

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Hummel & Schubert: Piano Quintets

The Music Collection

Chamber Music - Released January 6, 2014 | Chandos

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My Beloved Spake

Andrew Nethsingha

Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 1, 2012 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica - Hi-Res Audio
The Anglican anthem is an elaborate, often festive polyphonic form roughly comparable to the motet from Continental countries. With strong liturgical connections, the anthem of the late 17th century tends to contain conservative elements, and so it is with this collection of anthems by Henry Purcell and his slightly older contemporary, Pelham Humfrey (1647-1674, meaning that he died at an even younger age than Purcell did). In Purcell there are such elements as the striking half-step dissonances in Remember not, Lord, our offences, Z. 50 (track 1). The two works by Humfrey include up-to-date dramatic solo writing combined with choral polyphony that harks back to the 16th century. It's an appealing and unusual combination from a rarely heard composer, and the presence of the two Humfrey works is the main attraction of this release. The booklet seems to concede as much with its heading of "Humfrey/Purcell: Anthems," even though the vast majority of the music is by Purcell. When it comes to Purcell, you can do better. The sound, usually a Chandos strong point, is unaccountably muddy, and good luck even to native English speakers in understanding the texts of these works, where text is important. The soloists, especially bass Neal Davies in the beautifully dark O Lord my God of Humfrey, are engaging, but the boys' Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge, is a bit uncertain in higher registers and seems somehow overmatched by the music. Worthwhile for those with an interest in English music of the 17th century, for the performances of the unusual Humfrey pieces are also the strongest on the album. © TiVo
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Byrd : The Great Service

Musica Contexta

Classical - Released June 4, 2012 | Chandos

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This is an unusual recording of William Byrd's choral music for several reasons. First, it involves the Great Service, an Anglican work (nobody's first choice with the Catholic Byrd), and an amorphous and not terribly often recorded one at that. Second, the singers of Musica Contexta perform with a hypothesized period English pronunciation that may well be authentic but takes a bit of getting used to. The Service is filled out with organ versions of Byrd motets in an attempt to give it not its original form, but at least something of the flow it would have had in performance. And most unusual of all is the intrusion of instruments, in the form of the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, into the pristine world of Renaissance. This rests, as annotator Simon Ravens admits, on largely circumstantial musicology: the three cathedrals where manuscripts of the Great Service exist had cornetts and sackbuts in their collections, and the Chapel Royal would certainly have had them at its disposal. The work has been performed with organ accompaniment, but probably never with the Renaissance wind group heard here, which divides itself effectively into loud and soft subgroups. The recording in no way definitively solves the problem of how this work is to be performed, but it's defensible and well worth hearing for Byrd's admirers. The musical effect will largely depend on how you hear the music itself: did Byrd sign on emotionally to the Anglican service, or was he going through the motions? If the former, the instruments will underscore a grand manner in his music that was unique for his era. The engineering at London's St. John's Church is attractive, but it tends to overwhelm the texts, which are going to be hard enough in this reading for even native English speakers to understand. © TiVo
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Messe du Couronnement

Susan Gritton

Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 1, 2012 | Chandos

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7 Sonates, op.2

The Purcell Quartet

Chamber Music - Released February 1, 2012 | Chandos

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Sonates en duo (Volume 5)

Duo Amadè

Classical - Released January 1, 2012 | Chandos

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Œuvres orchestrales (Volume 2)

Tempesta di mare

Classical - Released November 1, 2011 | Chandos

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Vêpres de chambre

The Gonzaga Band

Classical - Released September 1, 2011 | Chandos

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Sonates en duo (Volume 4)

Duo Amadè

Chamber Music - Released July 1, 2011 | Chandos

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Variations Goldberg, BWV 988

Steven Devine

Classical - Released May 24, 2011 | Chandos

Booklet
Conductor and harpsichordist for the London Baroque, Steven Devine takes an exciting solo turn in his recording of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, giving the classic set a robust interpretation on this 2011 Chaconne release. Performing on a modern harpsichord, built and maintained by Colin Booth, Devine presents the music in a period tuning (A=415 Hz) and delivers it with historically appropriate ornamentation and rhythmic inflections. What is striking about this set of Goldbergs isn't any stylistic innovation or scholarly insight, which must be second nature to this esteemed musician, but Devine's presentation is so direct, bright, and energetic, it sustains interest all the way through and holds the variations together on the strength of his vitality. Since there are many performances of the Goldberg Variations to choose from, played on harpsichord or piano, adding one more to the marketplace is risky for the label. But Devine's recording has sufficient artistic merit to hold its own against many competitors, and the attractiveness of this CD will certainly win it many fans. The 24-bit recording puts the listener quite close to the instrument, so the sound is perfectly clear, and even the vibrations of the strings can be felt. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Le Divin Arcadelt

Musica Contexta

Classical - Released May 3, 2011 | Chandos

Booklet
It's hard to tell from the title Le Divin Arcadelt (The Divine Arcadelt), or from the subtitle "Candlemas in Renaissance Rome," what this album is all about. You might think it's one of the group of releases that attempt to reconstruct how music was used in Roman worship, rather than simply treating Renaissance masses and motets in isolation. Or you might assume it's an examination of Jacob Arcadelt and his music. Actually it is neither. In the words of Musica Contexta director Simon Ravens, listeners "imagine themselves walking the streets of Rome on the morning of 2 February -- the Feast of the Purification -- some time at the end of the 16th century. At each major church we come to we enter and listen to a musical item." The novelty here is that the performers reject the idea (or, as they put it, the "grail") of a single authentic technique, and they believe that Renaissance Romans would likewise have rejected it. So, the listener's "walk" brings visits to unaccompanied choirs, to vocal groups of various sizes accompanied by sackbutts or cornetts, to single singers accompanied by an instrumental ensemble. All of these were demonstrably "authentic" performances that might depend on the size and layout of a church or even on musical preference. The last of these is the most unusual, and you can sample it in the performance of de Silva's Inviolata, integra et casta es Maria (track 13). The whole idea is both fresh and convincingly thought through. The trio of composers represented, Arcadelt, Palestrina, and the lesser-known Andreas de Silva, were all associated with the Sistine Chapel at different times in the 16th century. But they were chosen for a more specific reason as well: they cultivated musical styles that intersected with but were not necessarily determined by the performance choices discussed above. De Silva came from Spain, the probable source of the practice of accompanying sacred music with winds and brasses during this period. Palestrina was connected with the tendency to sing a cappella. The overall picture that emerges is that of a city with a vibrant musical culture that adopted ideas from a variety of imported sources, and the homogenity that so often occurs in recordings of Renaissance sacred music is absent. The singers of Musica Contexta and the English Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble deliver an attractive, sweet tone that carries across the various settings. Chandos' engineers, perhaps regrettably, do not attempt to replicate the sensation of walking from church to church, but there's nothing to object to in the well-used sound environment of St-Jude-on-the-Hill in London's Hampstead Garden Suburb. An essential purchase for those interested in the performance of Renaissance sacred music. © TiVo