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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Arcana

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After rediscovering the music of Giovanni Croce, maestro di cappella at St Mark’s cathedral in Venice, Ensembles Voces Suaves and Concerto Scirocco take us to Salzburg and put the spotlight on the Verona-born composer Stefano Bernardi, a contemporary of Monteverdi. Bernardi reached the peak of his career in Salzburg, when he was appointed the first Kapellmeister of its newly constructed cathedral, a position he held from 1628 to 1634. Bernardi contributed greatly to the integration of the Italian nuovo stile in Salzburg, especially of features such as polychorality and the stile concertato, and may therefore be seen as the musical forefather of later, more famous Salzburg musicians. The outstanding stature of his music is clearly evident from his majestic Requiem, the manuscript of which is still preserved in the Salzburg cathedral archives. Particularly impressive is the Sequentia, which forms the core of the work and opens with an elaborate Dies irae section, based on the famous chant melody. The Requiem, as well as a number of Motets by Bernardi, is recorded here for the very first time. © Arcana
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Chamber Music - Released October 25, 2019 | Arcana

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Classical - Released October 18, 2019 | Arcana

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Since winning the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1986, Mario Brunello has established himself as one of the foremost living cellists. An eclectic musician, for some years Brunello has also taken an interest in the world of historically informed performance practice and the rediscovery of the four-string ‘violoncello piccolo’. This instrument, slightly smaller than the cello, is known today for its presence in some sacred cantatas of Bach, but it was surely used much more widely in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries than the currently known repertory would lead us to think.This recording of the Sonate & Partite per violino solo inaugurates the collaboration on the Arcana label with a ‘Bach Brunello Series’, in which important compositions for the violin from his catalogue will be performed on the violoncello piccolo. The booklet includes texts by Bach scholar Peter Wollny and Italian writer Alessandro Baricco. ‘I want to approach the Sonatas and Partitas “from the ground up”, in every sense. Violinists “fly high”, they are always on top of the melody, they see the music from above. I am therefore not proposing an imitation of the violin, but rather a specular reading, a conquest of the summit by another route. A mountain seen from the south or from the north changes the perspective, but not the substance.’ (Mario Brunello) © Arcana/Outhere
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Classical - Released September 13, 2019 | Arcana

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A journey through seventeenth-century Rome, the rough and magnificent city where Caravaggio and Stradella lived. Strict counterpoint and learned polyphony in the lute and keyboard pieces by Kapsberger, Pasquini and Frescobaldi mingle with light dances and popular songs for guitar. Improvisation is the feature linking both sound-worlds: the high culture of church chapels and noble palaces, and the lore of streets and taverns. A careful study of the original sources guided the choices as to instruments and interpretation. According to historically informed practice, the celebrated Antidotum Tarantulæ and further early specimens of tarantella, as written down by the Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher, are played on bagpipes, drums and guitars. While on their first album ‘Alfabeto Falso’ I Bassifondi refreshed the image of the Baroque guitar and its harmonic extravaganzas, with ‘Roma 600’ the ensemble brings the music of seventeenth century Rome back to life with inspired and imaginative improvisation. Soprano Emőke Barath and violinist Enrico Onofri are the distinguished guest artists who join I Bassifondi in this new adventure. © Arcana/Outhere
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Classical - Released September 6, 2019 | Arcana

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After releasing all the Brandenburg Concertos and Orchestral Suites, Zefiro joins forces with authoritative singer Dominik Woerner to investigate the intriguing relationship between bass voice and reed instruments in Bach’s sacred cantatas. “Johann Sebastian Bach’s son Carl Philipp Emanuel tells us of his father’s talent as a singer: ‘He had a good penetrating voice of wide range and good singing style.’ It is therefore not surprising that the three church cantatas for solo bass are among his most exquisite and personal vocal works. Singing voice and instruments enter into a special relationship in these pieces. The dense yet sensitive polyphony is filled with a warmth and tenderness that seems to bring us closer to Bach, who is otherwise so ‘hermetically closed’. The ‘I’ voice in the poems of cantatas BWV 56 and 82 becomes the composer’s voice. Bach’s solo cantatas are precious gems whose subtle beauties go straight to the listener’s heart.” © Peter Wollny/Arcana
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Classical - Released August 16, 2019 | Arcana

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A tireless explorer of territories off the beaten track, Gaetano Nasillo has already addressed Venetian music with a memorable album devoted to composer and ‘musico di violoncello’ Antonio Caldara. This new album brings us back to Venice to discover cello virtuosos and sonatas between Vivaldi and Tartini. ‘In the late seventeenth century the bass member of the violin family underwent an evolution to become the instrument we know as the violoncello. Within a few decades, Venice and its republic became an important centre of composition for the new instrument, whose popularity steadily increased, reaching a peak in the 1730s and 1740s. In his recorded anthology of sonatas for the instrument the cellist Gaetano Nasillo has selected eight works by eight different composers with a connection to La Serenissima. One composer, Antonio Vivaldi, is extremely well known; two, Benedetto Marcello and Giovanni Benedetto Platti, are slightly known; the remaining five – Girolamo Bassani, Diogenio Bigaglia, Antonio Martinelli, Antonio Vandini and Michele Stratico – are hardly known at all, and this premiere recording of their sonatas reveals the high quality and simple enjoyability of their music.’ (Michael Talbot) © Arcana/Outhere
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Classical - Released July 12, 2019 | Arcana

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Alessandro Grandi (born in Venice in 1590), regarded by scholars as “the greatest motet composer of his time”, was a prominent figure of the new Venetian style in the first half of the seventeenth century. An extremely precocious talent, he was considered by his contemporaries equal to Claudio Monteverdi, to whom he was appointed deputy in 1627 in Saint Mark’s Basilica. Yet our knowledge of his life and musical output is scanty, and thus he has remained mostly undiscovered. “Celesti fiori” (celestial flowers), a title taken from his Fifth Book of Motets, is the first complete monograph recording dedicated to this important composer. It consists of a selection of works, almost all recorded here for the first time, chosen from his books of motets, all published between 1610 and 1630, the year in which he was killed by the plague, along with his large family. Recorded in the extraordinary acoustics of the Basilica di Santa Barbara in Mantua, where Monteverdi worked during his long stay in the city, this project features the splendid voices of the Accademia d’Arcadia, an ensemble recently founded in 2018 for the purpose of performing Italian music of the seventeenth century.© Arcana
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Concertos - Released June 28, 2019 | Arcana

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Girolamo Frescobaldi is one of the most extraordinary figures in the history of music for harpsichord and organ, and had an enormous influence on other composers up until Bach. His brilliant toccatas reveal an inner world that fascinates today's listener. Frescobaldi's inspiration was born at the court of Ferrara and reached maturity in Rome, where the composer found himself among the major artists of the time who were actively creating a new artistic language. This box set includes the four collections by Frescobaldi which, due to their exceptional innovative strength, have left the greatest mark on the history of music for the keyboard. A pupil of Leonhardt and Tagliavini, Francesco Cera is today recognized as one of the leading specialists in Frescobaldi, whose music he has helped to disseminate through concerts and master classes in Europe and the United States. Part of the music was recorded in the excellent acoustics of the Sala della Vigna in the Delizia di Belriguardo, the summer residence of the Este dukes, where the very young Frescobaldi was often present. Cera has chosen nine priceless instruments, including the Guglielmi organ of 1615 in the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella in Rome, and a copy of the harpsichord by Nicolò Albana, Naples 1584. The art historian Denis Grenier has been entrusted with the task of illustrating seven works of art that testify to the link between the music of Frescobaldi and the art in Rome of his time. © Arcana
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Classical - Released May 24, 2019 | Arcana

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Francesco Landini was the most famous Florentine Trecento composer, known to being a multi-instrumentalist, notably a virtuoso on the organ. As known, he lost his sight at the age of 7 but, despite his disability, he excelled in the study of music and all liberal arts.Might the condition of blindness have affected the poetic production of Landini? LaReverdie together with Christophe Deslignes, investigate this hypothesis, with a new project that presents both well known masterpieces and pieces never recorded before, searching signs that might be eventually impressed in the verses and the music of Magister Coecus by the loss of his sight. The reference to the eyes from literary topos becomes in many Landini’s texts a melancholic poetic expedient to express the distance, the absence or the loss of the beloved woman, that only “the heart’s eye” (L’Occhio del Cor) is able to imagine. A project which fills the recent recording void on a fundamental author at the sunset of the Middle Ages, reread through a perspective never explored until now. A passionate work on the strict bond between poetry and music, well explained by Davide Daolmi, is associated to a necessary musicological research about sources. © Arcana
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Classical - Released May 17, 2019 | Arcana

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Scarlatti and the mandolin: this recording provides a fascinating and unusual encounter between one of the most important composers of the baroque period and an instrument that originated in Naples and enjoyed great popularity throughout Europe, especially in Paris and in other European capitals during the 18th century. The Pizzicar Galante ensemble, founded in Paris in 2012 by mandolinist Anna Schivazappa and harpsichordist Fabio Antonio Falcone, reveals hidden aspects of these musical gems from the Italian Baroque. Drawing inspiration from a mysterious 18th-century French manuscript containing the first movement of Scarlatti’s Sonata K 89, preceded by the indication ‘Sonatina per mandolino e cimbalo’, the musicians deliver a fresh and original interpretation of these works. The music is full of contrasts, rich in virtuoso passages, surprises and effects but also full of sweetness and humour, combined with a certain meditative melancholy. Specialized in the Italian repertoire for mandolin and basso continuo, Pizzicar Galante gives voice to different instrumental timbres. Among these, the charming, crystal-clear sound of an original 18th-century Neapolitan mandolin: an absolute rarity that makes this recording truly unique. © Arcana
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Classical - Released May 10, 2019 | Arcana

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Composed 25 years after the celebrated work of the same name by Pergolesi, and for the same forces, the Stabat Mater by Nicola Logroscino (pronounced “Logròscino”) belongs to the long list of compositions born of the Neapolitan school, beginning with the model by Alessandro Scarlatti (1723). Although inspired by its illustrious precedents, this work distinguishes itself in its strong theatrical character, derived from the author’s long experience in opera (especially comic opera), of which he was a leading figure until the mid-eighteenth century. His Stabat Mater thus seems to be a veritable synthesis of operatic style, whereby lengthy arias alternate with lively duets, and passages of almost folk origins alternate with very simple recitatives. Giulia Semenzato, soprano, and Raffele Pe, countertenor, are the protagonists of this important rediscovery. This album – the first monographic recording dedicated to the composer – includes a brilliant cantata for soprano as well as a concerto for flute (played by Marcello Gatti), a work that represents a precious addition to the repertoire for this instrument. The ensemble "Talenti Vulcanici", under the direction of Stefano Demicheli, deliver an instrumental performance of stylistic coherence and calibrated virtuosity, following their successful recording, "Arias for Nicolino". © Arcana
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Classical - Released May 3, 2019 | Arcana

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Could you ever imagine that one of the most popular saints in the Christian calendar of the Middle Ages was - Buddha? After ten years of research in a multitude of libraries worldwide, Katarina Livljanić and the ensemble Dialogos, faithfull to their exploratory and fearless spirit, bring yet another surprise from the less known medieval lands, after its award-winning albums such as Dalmatica: Chants of the Adriatic, Lombards & Barbares, La vision de Tondal, Judith: A Biblical Story from Renaissance Croatia. It is the incredible story of saints Barlaam and Josaphat, a christianized version of Buddha's life, which crossed over at least four religions and was transmitted through almost all the medieval languages. Powerful songs — incarnated by voice and instruments, sing the legend about the king's son, prince Josaphat, who leaves the noisy world of opulence to search for inner peace — songs which follow the path of his story from one medieval language to another, from Greek, Latin to Old Croatian, Italian, Church Slavonic… © Alpha Classics
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Secular Vocal Music - Released April 5, 2019 | Arcana

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Despite the rivalry between the operatic companies leaded by Haendel and Porpora in London (1734-1737), much has to be said about the real nature of the connection between the two composers. Both the musicians were considered outstandingly original for their aesthetic choices. Both admired each other's music. The few whirlwind years of their defiance in Great Britain produced memorable scores: among them, Ariodante by Haendel and Polifemo by Porpora, performed with simultaneous runs in the city theaters. The fight between the two operatic company was an opportunity for the composers to meet and discover each other, to deal with the taste of the audience and to experiment new ideas, getting strength from the incredible skills of the members of the vocal casts (Farinelli, Senesino, Carestini, etc.). This album tries to capture the soul of such a complicated intellectual relationship, presenting significant exemples of the composers' style and outlining the borders of the mutual esteem between two giants in the history of music. On her debut solo album, the young talented mezzosoprano Giuseppina Bridelli performs with effortless bravery the difficult pages written for some of the most famous singers of the 18th century: between them, a version with original variations of Haendel Scherza infida. © Arcana
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Classical - Released March 22, 2019 | Arcana

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Johann Sebastian Bach has always been considered one of the greatest music transcribers of all times. Many of his transcriptions (mostly the ones from Italian composers Vivaldi and Marcello) have become instant classics, and they are still viewed as masterpieces of the baroque repertoire. Bach has always been very active as a transcriber of his own music too. His masterful transcription of his Sonata for viola da gamba & keyboard No. 1, which he transformed into a trio for two flutes and continuo, has given the inspiration for this musical project. Tripla Concordia and Walter van Hauwe decided to transcribe even the other two Sonatas for Viola da Gamba as Trio Sonatas, walking in Bach footsteps. In doing so, the members of the ensemble actually fulfilled their desire of offering a new listening experience of this set of sonatas, with fresh colours and textures. Tripla Concordia sincerely hopes that those new versions will cast a new light on these works, thus giving the listener the opportunity of discovering new details and fresh instrumental combinations. Transcriptions of other two Bach masterpieces, the Organ Sonata No. 3 (transcription by Sour Cream) and the Partita for Lute BWV 997, complete the recording. © Arcana
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Classical - Released March 1, 2019 | Arcana

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The brilliant soprano María Cristina Kiehr, together with lutenist-vihuelist Ariel Abramovich, presents her first solo album devoted to Renaissance music. With her broad experience in sixteenth-century polyphonic repertoire (in La Colombina and Ensemble Daedelus, among others), and a project almost completely using her native language, Kiehr brings to the music of Spain’s Golden Age her own unique perspective. "Imaginario" reconstructs an imaginary and unknown book of vihuela songs, inspired by the seven marvellous books published between 1536 and 1576, but this time as if published in Valladolid or Seville between 1570 and 1580. Constructed in the shadow of the earlier books, each one of its songs makes reference either in its music or text to another song from those earlier books. The vihuelist Jacob Heringman, together with whom Abramovich created and recorded "Cifras imaginarias" (Arcana) is also part of this project, together with the mythical British tenor John Potter, ex-Hilliard Ensemble and ECM artist, who performs an enigmatic piece for tenor and vihuela. A unique project, in every sense of the word, this stretch of the imagination takes the recorded repertory of the Spanish Renaissance one step further, venturing into the world of musical fiction based on a blend of creativity and science, and with a team of researchers difficult to surpass. © Arcana/Outhere
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Classical - Released February 8, 2019 | Arcana

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Bach and Gabrielli: the focus of this recording is an unusual musical match involving the famous 6 Suites for violoncello solo by Johann Sebastian Bach and the little-known 7 Ricercari for violoncello solo (1689) by Domenico Gabrielli of Bologna, the first example of a work for unaccompanied cello in history, and thus the only precedent and possible model for the Bach masterpiece. In what ways are the two series of compositions linked? Cellist Mauro Valli is convinced that there is a connection between the two for a number of reasons, including the preponderant correspondence of the keys. Bach assiduously performed and transcribed works by Italian composers, not only those of his contemporaries but also of earlier musicians, so it is highly likely that he was familiar with Gabrielli’s works, in particular with the Ricercari. Mauro Valli provides an intriguingly new interpretation of Bach’s six masterpieces by heralding each one with the corresponding Ricercare. The outcome is strikingly fresh and original, with a wealth of courageously personal diminutions and embellishments that derive from Valli’s deep knowledge of the Italian baroque repertoire. Bach was fascinated by composers such as Frescobaldi, Albinoni and Vivaldi, and it certainly makes good sense to perform his Suites in the Italian style! © Outhere
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Classical - Released February 1, 2019 | Arcana

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The focus of Extravagantes Seicento is the musical exuberance of a century full of contradictions, and at the same time receptive towards all kinds of novelty. By means of a rich collection of instrumental sonatas for violin, viola da gamba and harpsichord, the recording portrays the peregrine world of composers and instrumentalists who travelled throughout Europe in their search for receptive cultural circles and the degree of financial stability required for the creation of new works. In particular the Habsburg courts of Vienna and Innsbruck attracted artists from Italy and central Europe, becoming hubs for innovation in the visual arts, the theatre and instrumental music. Under the imperial protection of Ferdinand III, Leopold I and Archduke Ferdinand Karl of Austria, the great violinists of the 17th century Ignazio Albertini, Giovanni Padonolfi Mealli, Samuel Capricornus, Heinrich Schmelzer and Ignaz Biber expanded the technical potential of the violin and the viola da gamba, producing a repertoire of highly melodious sonatas featuring virtuoso brilliance and such eccentricity of sound as to surprise or even disconcert audiences, both then and today. © Outhere Music
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Classical - Released January 18, 2019 | Arcana

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Classical - Released January 4, 2019 | Arcana

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Full Operas - Released November 2, 2018 | Arcana

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Alessandro Stradella’s place in the annals of the history of music is not only due to the adventurous circumstances that marked his brief existence, but also to the reputation as a opera composer he has acquired since the 18th century. Inaccessible for many decades to specialists and scholars, La Doriclea is definitely the least known of all Stradella’s operas. However, it constitutes a particularly significant chapter in his overall output: composed in Rome during the early 1670s, to our knowledge La Doriclea represents the first opera entirely composed by Stradella. From the dramatic point of view, La Doriclea belongs to the comedy of intrigue genre typical of the 17th century Spanish theatre tradition. Refined and amusing, it alternates touching lamentos with irresistibly comic scenes, in which the character of Giraldo, a veritable precursor of the basso buffo, allows us to glimpse Rossinian atmospheres. Emőke Baráth (Doriclea) and Xavier Sabata (Fidalbo) alongside Giuseppina Bridelli (Lucinda) and Luca Cervoni (Celindo) and the comic couple of Delfina (Gabriella Martellacci) and Giraldo (Riccardo Novaro) bring a complex and fascinating role-playing game to life. This world premiere release of La Doriclea is a major achievement for "The Stradella Project", which here reaches its fifth volume. © Arcana

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