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Classical - Released June 26, 2015 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica - Qobuzissime
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Classical - Released August 28, 2008 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Hi-Res Booklets Distinctions Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Classica-Répertoire
Director and violinist Amandine Beyer acknowledges in her booklet notes for this disc that the world may not seem to need another recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, but then she tops the bar she has set up by delivering an entirely distinctive reading of the work. Her version, with the Italian historical-instrument group Gli Incogniti (who are not quite as unknown as all that), is as strikingly revisionist as the various turbo-powered, operatic Vivaldi recordings that began coming out of Italy in the 1990s, but it is different in flavor. In her own words, Beyer seeks "lightweight forces and freedom of phrasing." The group is small, with microphones put down right in the middle, and you hear lots of internal lines and interplay rather than contrast between orchestra and soloist. The overall feel is light and agile; Beyer doesn't so much push the tempo (although there's a little of that) as imbue the solo lines with maximum variety, creating a fantasy-like feel. That works quite well with the Four Seasons concertos, which are rendered in a colorful enough way that they evoke many of the images in Vivaldi's accompanying printed sonnets (which would have been a profitable inclusion in the booklet). There are, however, enough startling choices, like the heavily plucked and much-faster-than-Largo central movement of the "Winter" concerto (track 18), that the disc may be more to the tastes of the adventurous than otherwise; sample extensively and decide. The Four Seasons are balanced with other concertos that are quite rare, two of them world premieres. One and possibly more of these works were written for Vivaldi's orchestra of illegitimate girls at the Ospedale della Pietà, and indeed the entire disc is easy to imagine in performance by that presumably small group. The Violin Concerto in B flat major, RV 372, "Per Signora Chiara," and Violin Concerto in B minor, RV 390, are late works that contribute anew to the understanding of how much Vivaldi contributed to the forerunners of Classicism. It may be a bit far out, but this is a fresh Vivaldi disc in every way. © TiVo
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Violin Concertos - Released October 15, 2015 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - 4 étoiles Classica
1720: in his famous pamphlet entitled ‘Fashionable Theatre’, the composer Marcello ironized the excesses of the new Venetian opera. This landmark pamphlet was published anonymously as Benedetto Marcello, under the fictional editorship of ‘Aldaviva Licante’ - undoubtedly an anagram of A. Vivaldi – ridiculing the operatic world of the time. It took on singers puffed up with pride, uneducated librettists, composers seeking dramatic effects, in short, everything that the musical world then thought about as original, unusual, new, experimental, shocking, weird, baroque, and, in a word, Italian! Vivaldi was one of Marcello’s favourite targets, continually lampooning the Red Priest and his virtuoso violin escapades. It is precisely these escapades that the violinist Amandine Beyer and the Gli Incogniti ensemble have chosen for their rich repertoire: detuned violin concertos (in the manner of Scordatura), violin ‘in tromba’, that is to say violin in a tone that betrays a scraped sound, not to mention more singular works in which Vivaldi leaves the soloist a freedom that gives real heart to the joy of improvisation. This is what really marks out Amandine Beyer, who performs in accordance with the habits of the composer, giving a clear, historical picture of her treatment of the ornaments. So, for the almost implausible Circus Maximus track, it is as if you were actually there, attending the Carnival of the year 1720! © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released February 19, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released August 27, 2009 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
The Sablé festival, held annually in Sablé-sur-Sarthe in France, has its own recording concern that it uses primarily to expose young early music artists and to support the most interesting of their projects; the Zig-Zag Territoires label provides an outlet for this endeavor. Here is a wholly worthy enterprise: the group Gli Incogniti -- led by the fabulous young violinist Amandine Beyer -- in a program drawn from various works of mysterious late seventeenth-century violinist Nicola Matteis, its title, False Consonances of Melancholy, fashioned after one of his publications, but not limited to its contents. As Matteis is not a household name, some summary of his place in the scheme of things is not out of order here: born in Naples, possibly contemporary to Heinrich von Biber, Matteis was an itinerant musician in Germany before making his way to London about 1670. He rose over time to become one of the principal violinists in England, noted for his facility as an improviser, the excellence of his compositions, and his rather coarse and uncivilized manner. While he had many private students, Matteis never gained any privilege at court and may not have cared to hold one down; his son, also named Nicola Matteis, would do so in Vienna starting in 1700 and enjoyed a far more stable and conventional career pattern. The elder Matteis seems to have died around the time his son left for Vienna and is known to posterity from seven published volumes appearing from between 1676 through 1703, two consisting of songs and one republished in a radically changed version, presumably after Matteis' death, and a scattering of music in manuscript sources. Stylistically, Matteis falls somewhere in between Biber and Locke; while the music bears numerous harmonic eccentricities and a representational slant reminiscent of Biber, it also betrays the influence of English style and texture, particularly in regard to the handling of melody. Like Biber, Italian style is a key component in Matteis' music, but it is of an altogether older manner than the Corellian attitude practiced by Matteis' son, at times hearkening back even to the "bizzarries" of Biagio Marini. Needless to say, to an early music violinist all of these elements are strongly attractive combination, and Beyer makes the most of it, delivering a crisp and confident rendering of Matteis with an attentive and richly sonorous continuo provided by gambist Baldomero Barciela, guitarist/theorbists Ronaldo Lopes and Francesco Romano, and harpsichordist Anna Fontana. It's a long program, consisting of no less than 40 movements' altogether, and this relates to this release's only drawback. Many to most of Matteis' often very short pieces come bundled up into suites, and Gli Incogniti has elected to pick from Matteis' whole instrumental repertoire and add movements from elsewhere into sets that have already established contents. But it's hard to tell what's what, as the Zig Zag Territoires release is only partly forthcoming as to the provenance of the works included. It is not through idle curiosity that the listener would desire to really know what he/she is listening to; while there's nothing wrong with mixing and matching movements, to do so without indicating what comes from where seems a tad irresponsible, or at least short-sighted. Apart from that, Zig Zag Territoires' Nicola Matteis: False Consonances of Melancholy is a wholly enjoyable, well-played excursion through Matteis' music; from the standpoint of sheer playing, its aim is true and it hits the bull's-eye. © TiVo
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Violin Concertos - Released October 26, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
To say that the concerto was one of Haydn's favourite forms would be a bit much, daft even. The man wrote a good hundred symphonies, dozens of quartets, trios, piano sonatas, fifteen or so masses and as many operas, and oratorios... Currently we know of three violin concertos (others being lost or apocryphal), two cello concertos (others... see above), one horn concerto, one for trumpet (there are no others) and at most about ten concertos for piano. Musically, they are fascinating works, but the level of technical skill they demand runs from moderate to a bit tricky. But the First Cello Concerto is not without its moments of difficulty, such as the rapid high notes in the final movement, and it offers some real fireworks. It should also be noted that most of the concertos were written for Esterházy, specifically for the first soloists in the house orchestra of Konzertmeister Luigi Tomasini and first cellist Joseph Weigl. The orchestral accompaniments offered the soloists some fine backdrops: in particular in the second movement of the Concerto for violin in C Major , with the orchestra's string section accompanying the solo violin with a sort of lute-playing that becomes a kind of serenade à la Don Giovanni. Amandine Beyer takes up the violin for this recording, while Marco Ceccato deals with the cello solo – both members of the Gli Incogniti ensemble ("The Unknowns"), a fluid grouping that plays without a conductor. Their leaderless style means that the musicians all listen to one another: it's a lovely way of making music (and sadly rare in the world of orchestras). © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 25, 2012 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Chamber Music - Released September 8, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
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Violin Concertos - Released August 28, 2008 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
Director and violinist Amandine Beyer acknowledges in her booklet notes for this disc that the world may not seem to need another recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, but then she tops the bar she has set up by delivering an entirely distinctive reading of the work. Her version, with the Italian historical-instrument group Gli Incogniti (who are not quite as unknown as all that), is as strikingly revisionist as the various turbo-powered, operatic Vivaldi recordings that began coming out of Italy in the 1990s, but it is different in flavor. In her own words, Beyer seeks "lightweight forces and freedom of phrasing." The group is small, with microphones put down right in the middle, and you hear lots of internal lines and interplay rather than contrast between orchestra and soloist. The overall feel is light and agile; Beyer doesn't so much push the tempo (although there's a little of that) as imbue the solo lines with maximum variety, creating a fantasy-like feel. That works quite well with the Four Seasons concertos, which are rendered in a colorful enough way that they evoke many of the images in Vivaldi's accompanying printed sonnets (which would have been a profitable inclusion in the booklet). There are, however, enough startling choices, like the heavily plucked and much-faster-than-Largo central movement of the "Winter" concerto (track 18), that the disc may be more to the tastes of the adventurous than otherwise; sample extensively and decide. The Four Seasons are balanced with other concertos that are quite rare, two of them world premieres. One and possibly more of these works were written for Vivaldi's orchestra of illegitimate girls at the Ospedale della Pietà, and indeed the entire disc is easy to imagine in performance by that presumably small group. The Violin Concerto in B flat major, RV 372, "Per Signora Chiara," and Violin Concerto in B minor, RV 390, are late works that contribute anew to the understanding of how much Vivaldi contributed to the forerunners of Classicism. It may be a bit far out, but this is a fresh Vivaldi disc in every way. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released May 22, 2020 | Fra Bernardo

Hi-Res
Another album of "recreational baroque" which, this time, takes us into the high society of London at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries under the expert guidance of the violinist Amandine Beyer, with Michael Oman on recorder, and the Austrian Baroque Company. The programme consists of a series of pieces composed by virtuoso violinist-composers who were attracted like flies to London’s thriving musical scene ("London Calling") and whose style was inspired by both Biber and Corelli, at a time when the violin was branching away from the viol and consorts, gradually abandoned in favour of the new instrument, more brilliant and better able to express human and sacred passions. These music, alternately cheerful and melancholic, was played and danced in noble houses, thus ensuring a substantial source of income for musicians. Discover pieces in this album by Andrea Falconieri, John Hilton and Nicola Matteis, surrounded by Handel and Purcell. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Duets - Released December 27, 2005 | Alpha

Booklet
The violin-and-keyboard sonatas of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach are as wild as his better-known keyboard sonatas and symphonies -- perhaps even wilder, for the composer fools at times between the quite conventional relationship between the two instruments. The four works recorded here have the advantage of being genuine works for violin and piano, not the piano-with-accompanying-and-almost-optional violin configuration that prevailed during much of the era of High Classicism. Bach's conceptions depend on the equality of the instruments' roles, for these works are primary examples of the empfindsamer Stil or sensitive style that had roots in various strains of philosophical thought of the time. Plenty of drama is generated as the musical lines are broken up into irregular little fragments, with each instrument taking the music off into new directions. Examples of intriguing structures are the first movement of the opening Sonata in B flat major, H. 513, with its deceptively conventional opening material that falls apart emotionally as the movement proceeds, and the slow movement of the Sonata in C minor, H. 545 (track 5), in which the piano and the violin lead almost separate existences. Each work has its own profile, and the music in general is a long way distant from the smoothly modulated textures and harmonic simplicity that was taking root in Vienna. The French team of violinist Amandine Beyer and pianist (not a fortepianist as the English translation of the notes erroneously states) Edna Stern deserves credit for giving these fascinating works an ambitious, intense recording. Beyer has the edgy, hyper quality that Baroque musicians who venture forward into the Classical era sometimes evince, but with C.P.E. Bach, hyper works just fine. Sample her flashing Baroque violin, which doesn't quite seem to match the piano used -- yet the performers chose a piano in preference to a clavichord, which was said to be C.P.E. Bach's instrument of choice for domestic-sized music. They are right that it is hard to imagine these pieces with clavichord. With a little adjustment of the ears to the duo's unusual sound, the listener can enjoy exciting performances of some very unusual sonatas. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released November 1, 2005 | Zig-Zag Territoires

The introduction of Italian music into tradition-bound France at the beginning of the eighteenth century was a revolutionary event carrying all kinds of dangerous connotations of individual freedom. The French and Italian styles were symbolically reconciled by François Couperin in Les goûts réunis but erupted anew in the operatic polemical war known as the Querelle des Bouffons. These sonatas for violin and continuo by French court musician Jean-Féry Rebel, dating from the years around 1700, come early in the process of Italian influence; although they are called sonatas, they have French movement titles and simple binary organization within the individual movements, which are very short. Mostly they consist of short bits of instrumental display, cut off and decorously organized lest they get out of hand. The most remarkable piece on the album, and the real reason to have it, is the opening Tombeau de Monsieur de Lully in C minor. This memorial to Rebel's teacher Lully is one of the few French instrumental works of the period that explores really somber emotions. Rebel begins with a set of French rhetorical gestures and intensifies them with newly discovered Italian expressivity to produce a unique and powerful work. Sample the opening track, which is reprised as track 6, for an idea of its power. Violinist Amandine Beyer and L'assemblé des honnestes curieux give wonderful performances, with a real sense of surprise at Rebel's flights of imagination and a big, rich, expressive sound generated by the continuo trio of bass viol, theorbo, and harpsichord. Those who enjoy the freedom of the middle-Baroque instrumental sonata should experience this unusual French take on the form, especially as it is used to give the tragic sense of a student's tribute to a teacher who has met his untimely demise. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1998 | naïve classique

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Classical - Released May 10, 2007 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Booklet
Here's one of those discs that throws multiple innovations at the listener, any one of which alone might have made sense but which are a bit overwhelming taken together. You may be puzzled to see four Bach violin concertos listed; what's happening is that two of them, BWV 1052 and BWV 1056, were transcribed from harpsichord concertos on the theory that Bach himself made similar transcriptions in the opposite direction. Tempos are quick, with a nervous, slightly pace-bending energy at odds with the usual tempo stability of Baroque instrumental music. Finally, the "orchestral" passages are taken with one instrument per part, in keeping with an approach more often heard in Bach's choral music (where the chorus consists of single voices) but sometimes mooted for concertos as well. This last decision seems especially debateable in music modeled on the concertos of Vivaldi, which were, on the testimony of none less than Jean-Jacques Rousseau, composed to be played by an orchestra of young women. If you grant that the experiment is worth trying, you may still find that it works markedly better in the two actual violin concertos than in the two transcriptions. Despite all of the booklet's claims for the violinistic quality of the melodies of the two harpsichord concertos, the music turns into a shapeless mess here. Violinist Amandine Beyer and the ensemble Gli Incogniti assert the novel approach that the polyphonic element in Bach's concertos ruled over the spectacular soloistic concept of the Italian style, and they reduce the emphasis on the solo part accordingly. It's an odd way to play these pieces, but competently and briskly executed, and the engineering from the new Zig Zag imprint of Harmonia Mundi is sharp. In all, though, anyone considering this disc should sample and compare extensively; the minority of listeners who are thoroughly experiment-minded are most likely to enjoy it. © TiVo
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Classical - Released June 9, 2005 | Zig-Zag Territoires

A terrific idea that almost but not quite comes off, this disc called Chaconne takes as its basis Bach's Chaconne from his D minor Partita for solo violin and adds transcriptions of the work for piano by Johannes Brahms, Ferruccio Busoni, and Rudolf Lutz, the last named the teacher of pianist Edna Stern. It nearly succeeds. Stern's playing in the transcriptions is far more than professional, but not quite up to the level of the music. In Busoni's super-virtuoso transcription that opens the disc, Stern can do most of what Busoni demands, but there are passages in the central choral that are beyond her. In Lutz' quasi-modernist transcription that follows, Stern can do everything that Lutz requires, but he did, after all, write the transcription with her in mind. In Brahms' severely austere transcription that follows, Stern can play most but not all of the notes and catches and some but not much of the somber asceticism of the tone. The original version of the Chaconne that closes the disc is well but not altogether persuasively played by violinist Amandine Beyer. While one looks forward to hearing more by these artists, listeners looking for outstanding performances of the Chaconne are advised to look elsewhere -- to Michelangeli's shattering virtuosity in Busoni's transcription, to Zimmerman's stunning intensity in Brahms' transcription and to Milstein's staggering concentration in Bach's original. Harmonia Mundi's Zig Zag's sound is so present it's palpable. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 26, 2010 | Zig-Zag Territoires