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Classical - To be released March 19, 2021 | Arcana

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Classical - Released February 26, 2021 | Arcana

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The heterogeneous output of Santiago de Murcia, one of the key figures in the Baroque guitar repertory, includes a number of transcriptions from the Op. 5 of Arcangelo Corelli, the famous collection of "sonatas with violin and string bass or harpsichord" published in Rome in 1700. The diffusion of Corelli’s works in Spain, and in particular in Madrid, suggests how highly the Italian style was valued at the court of Philip V, where Santiago taught Queen Maria Luisa of Savoy between 1704 and 1706. This gave rise to the idea of investigating the relationship between the Spanish and Italian styles in de Murcia’s guitar music. Pieces such as the fandango, jacaras and canarios, here presented in original arrangements that attempt to achieve a synthesis between historical research and creativity, are coupled with two Corelli Sonatas and a set of original or anonymous variations on the Follie italianas. The result is a stimulating kaleidoscope of sonorities in which different aesthetics and instrumental techniques dialogue, contrast and blend together. After his CD "Intavolatura", devoted to the solo theorbo music of Kapsberger ("hypnotisant" - Le Devoir; "terrific" - American Record Guide; "outstanding" - Lute News), Stefano Maiorana turns his attention to the Baroque guitar, investigating its unique sound and its ability to adapt to different languages and styles. © Arcana
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Classical - Released February 12, 2021 | Arcana

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Johann Hermann Schein, Sebastian Knüpfer, Johann Schelle, Andreas Gleich, Johann Georg Ebeling, Johannes Kessel, Johann Rosenmüller – all names that are unlikely to be familiar to you, unless you happen to be especially knowledgeable on the subject of early German Baroque composers. Yet all enjoyed esteemed reputations in their day, and three of them – Schein, Knüpfer and Schelle – were actually predecessors of Johann Sebastian Bach in the lofty role of Leipzig ThomasKantor. Then even less familiar to most listeners will be the music these men composed for funeral services, because when each service's music was created specifically for that one event, and reflected the tastes and choices of the deceased person it honoured, it didn't make sense to publish it for wider performance. Consequently, the first thing to point about about this programme of seventeenth century German funeral music from Basel-based vocal ensemble Voces Suaves under Johannes Strobl, is the feast of unknown repertoire presented around its central performance of Schütz's Musikalische Exequien; because while Schütz was so proud of this structurally and texturally ambitious 1636 work for the funeral of Henry II, Count of Reuss-Gera, that he published it at his own expense that very year, the surrounding motets from his above-mentioned contemporaries have been transcribed specifically for this recording, direct from the original sources, with much of it recorded for the very first time. The performances themselves have more than done this rare repertoire justice, too: beautifully lucid textures both in the choral singing and the sensitive accompanying from violone, theorbo and organ; bright, clear-toned vocal tones, with a particularly exquisitely light and pure upper-register soprano sound on show in motets such as Gleich's Selig sind die Toten; crisp articulation and sombre, heartfelt expression of the texts overall. Add the fact that the back catalogue isn't bursting with previous recordings even of the Schütz, and this album is very welcome indeed. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 29, 2021 | Arcana

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With its debut recording, the Bernardini Quartet takes us on a journey into the golden age of its formation, consisting of oboe, violin, viola and cello. The programme consists of a selection of exemplary pieces written between 1780 and 1818 by composers of different nationalities who are united by their diversity. Alongside Alfredo and Cecilia Bernardini, father and daughter, respectively oboist/director and first violin of the Ensemble Zefiro, the members are the German violist Simone Jandl and the Dutch cellist Marcus van den Munckhof. The programme begins with one of the earliest quartets for these forces, by Johann Christian Bach; continues with Mozart’s Quartet KV370/360b, a milestone of the genre, followed by a romance with variations by the French composer Charles Bochsa, a substantial four-movement quartet by the cellist Dotzauer and a delightful little quartet by Alessandro Rolla, violinist and conductor of La Scala, Milan; and ends with a meditative perpetual canon by the Bohemian Georg Druschetzky, based on a famous Lutheran chorale. In this recording, Alfredo Bernardini used five different period oboes. © Arcana
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Classical - Released January 15, 2021 | Arcana

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Classical - Released January 8, 2021 | Arcana

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A storm of passaggi to echo the virtuosity of the cornettists of Renaissance Italy who exalted their instrument, of which Andrea Inghisciano is one of the most sought-after contemporary exponents (listen, for example, to the recording ‘La Morte della Ragione’ with Il Giardino Armonico). Here, along with the keyboard player María González, Inghisciano presents a programme bursting with diminutions, whether written or improvised: from the acrobatics of Francesco Rognoni and Dario Castello to the sweetness of Luzzasco Luzzaschi and Giovanni Battista Bovicelli, by way of Girolamo Dalla Casa, who, while recommending performers to ‘do few things, but do them well’, amazes us with his exuberant writing, with rapid cascades of notes as arduous to play as they are fascinating to listen to. This duo recital is the recording debut of the ensemble I Cavalieri del Cornetto, which aims to explore the art of diminution in all its forms. © Arcana
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Classical - Released November 13, 2020 | Arcana

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To mark the 250th anniversary of the death of Giuseppe Tartini, Mario Brunello and the Accademia dell’Annunciata commemorate one of the great partnerships in the history of eighteenth-century music: the relationship between Tartini and Antonio Vandini, a cellist born in Bologna (cradle of the Italian cello school), active in Padua for fifty years, and the author of the first biography of Tartini, whom he had known since the 1720s. Coupled here for the first time are Tartini’s two Cello Concertos, probably intended for his friend and colleague, alongside the only surviving concerto by Vandini himself. According to reports of the period, he ‘played in such a way as to make his instrument speak’, that instrument being the violoncello piccolo practised by the virtuosos of Padua in the mid-eighteenth century, here played by Mario Brunello. The expressive heart of the concertos is to be found in the beautiful slow movements: in Tartini the long, eloquent melodic arches create a free inner monologue, while the rich ornamentation recalls folk motifs from the Balkan region, which he may have known. In his marvellous Andantino, Vandini gives the cello a gently symmetrical Vivaldian melody that expands in dialogue with the orchestra. © Arcana
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Classical - Released November 6, 2020 | Arcana

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The Italian composers of the seventeenth century, living at the time of Galileo, were at the forefront of a musical revolution that offers some surprising analogies with the birth of the modern scientific method. Just as Galileo with his telescope was able to observe the sky and discover new celestial objects, so the musicians of the time strove to fathom the depths of the human soul with their wind and bowed or plucked string instruments. Each ‘affetto’ or emotion was made to correspond to a musical phrase constructed according to the ‘Stil Moderno’. This style was often somewhat unpredictable, which is why it is still so fascinating for today’s listeners. Instruments thus came to dominate the musical scene, eliciting as much excitement and wonder as singers thanks to the skill of virtuoso players and music that was written specifically for them: sonatas, canzonas, sinfonias, diminutions, ballets, etc. Il Ricercar Continuo tackles this extraordinary repertory with an exemplary selection of pieces that demonstrate the remarkable creativity typical of Italian instrumental music during the seventeenth century. The three musicians are highly versatile, playing nine different instruments, including dulcians, recorders of different sizes, lute, archlute and cello. © Arcana
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Classical - Released October 23, 2020 | Arcana

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A major achievement for "The Stradella Project", now in its sixth volume, this world premiere complete recording of the comic opera in three acts Il Trespolo tutore comes at a time of important new discoveries concerning Stradella’s life and his operas. This includes the recovery of Doriclea and the recent discovery of Amare e fingere, soon to be released in the same series. Il Trespolo tutore was first staged at the Teatro del Falcone in Genoa for Carnival in 1679. Alessandro Stradella’s only comic opera, it unquestionably deserves a place among the masterpieces of this genre. On a libretto by Giovanni Cosimo Villifranchi, the entertaining plot mirrors that of a successful comedy published a decade earlier, Amore è veleno e medicina degl’intelletti o vero Trespolo tutore, by the Florentine Giovanni Battista Ricciardi. The paradoxical behaviour of the characters, including a ward who falls in love with her tutor and a madman who regains his wits through love, contribute to moments of intense comic delight. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released October 9, 2020 | Arcana

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With the battle of Pavia in 1525 a long period of Spanish domination began for Milan. Under the reign of Charles V the arts and music flourished. Antonio de Cabezón travelled across Europe visiting Milan in 1548 and his music influenced the great European composers. Contrary to keyboard instruments, lute and vihuela already have a vast repertoire in print. The combination of a keyboard instrument (tecla) with the vihuela (called “viola da mano” in Italy) is common in the sources of Spanish influence of this period, which often bear the indication "para tecla y vihuela”. Evangelina Mascardi and Maurizio Croci, established soloists on the international early music scene, explore the affinities, the contrasts and, in the words of an enthusiastic chronicler of the time, the "unheard of imitations" that arise from the dialogue between the two instruments. Their research project, carried out at the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne (HEMU) with the involvement of various international partners, has led to the discovery of new interpretations that offer to an immense repertoire of extremely high musical value, unique and fascinating perspectives. © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released October 2, 2020 | Arcana

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Little by little, Francesco Corti begins to stand out with his colourful personality. In some respects, he reminds us of Ottavio Dantone and his vivid, overflowing imagination. Here, the masterful blend of rigour and fantasy is striking. And what a copious program – over 80 minutes long! The Praeludium BWV 815a is the ideal entry point before a French Suite in E Flat major (No. 4) by J. S. Bach (here the 1722 version, which never appears constrained by its structure). Have we ever heard such natural polyphony, beautifully deployed harmonies and rhythmic diversity? In fact we have, with pianist Tatiana Nikolayeva in a 1987 concert in Salzburg (Orfeo). Then come the (re)discoveries. If Leonhardt had once shown (Teldec) the beauty of Kuhnau's biblical sonatas, Francesco Corti gives Il lamento di Hiskia an unexpected depth. It takes on a truly transitional form between the French Tombeaux and the denser recitatives of Bach's Passions, whereas L'allegrezza del Re directly evokes France. After a short and unremarkable Hasse passage, Francesco Corti throws himself into Praeludium, Fugue & Postludium in G minor by Georg Böhm, which is perhaps even more poetic than its twin, Praeludium, Fugue et Allegro in E flat major by J. S. Bach (BWV 998) which the harpsichordist performs in an unrushed and improvisational manner, a performance style which can also be found in Capriccio Sopra’s overture lontananza del fratello dilettissimo BWV 992. Ken Yoshida captures a wonderful recording of the sublime Andrea Restelli harpsichord which is modelled on a 1738 Christian Valer preserved at Nuremberg, played by one of the most intense artists on the young Baroque scene. Discover this recital in all its glory, it is certainly worth the listen. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released September 25, 2020 | Arcana

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Even a star of the podium like Antonio Pappano devotes himself with enthusiasm to chamber music: there are more and more concerts and recordings in which he sits at the piano, performing with such eminent artists as Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Diana Damrau, Ian Bostridge and Joyce DiDonato. Now it is his fifteen-year-old friendship and musical collaboration with Luigi Piovano that is reflected in this new and exciting album, in which the two musicians finally record their interpretation – honed over the years in dozens of performances at leading concert halls such as Rome, Milan, Bologna, Florence and Brussels – of the two Brahms Cello Sonatas and a gem of late nineteenth-century Italian instrumental music: Giuseppe Martucci’s Two Romances Op. 72. Two further elements add life and fascination to this new Arcana release: the instruments used (a sumptuous Alessandro Gagliano cello of 1710 and a splendid piano by Steinway & Sons built in New York in 1875) and the atmospheric surroundings in which the recording was made – not a sterile studio, but the magnificent villa, deep in the tranquil and harmonious verdure of the Tuscan countryside, of a great friend of the two musicians, Nicola Bulgari. © Arcana
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Classical - Released September 18, 2020 | Arcana

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Venice ca. 1700: having recently arrived from France, the instruments à la mode - the oboe, bassoon, baroque recorder, and flûte traversière - go on to conquer the musical centers of the Serenissima. The versatility of these new woodwinds inspires Vivaldi at the Ospedale della Pietà and his compatriots Caldara and Lotti at San Marco throughout their lives, whether in Venice, Rome, Vienna, or Dresden. This interest in wind instruments also carries over to the next generation of Venetian composers such as Galuppi, whose career plays out in his hometown, or the emigrants Platti and Brescianello beyond the Alps. For centuries, the imperial chapel in Vienna was characterized by a particular affinity for Venice - and it was with an eye to this historical connection between Vienna and Northern Italy that oboist Elisabeth Baumer founded the Austro-Italian Ensemble Affinità with musician friends in 2012. The ensemble’s debut recording brings together imaginative interpretations of well-known works such as Vivaldi’s Concerto RV 103, exciting rediscoveries, and a world première recording of a remarkable oboe sonata by Ferrandini. © Arcana
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Classical - Released September 11, 2020 | Arcana

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After the great success of their first album for Arcana featuring two unpublished masterpieces by Pergolesi, Giulio Prandi and the Coro e Orchestra Ghislieri return with a new recording, devoted to Niccolo Jommelli’s Requiem. Composed in 1756 for the solemn obsequies of the Duke of Wurttemberg’s mother, it became the most popular Requiem setting in Europe until Mozart’s, written in 1791. Jommelli’s work, which is bound to surprise even the most seasoned enthusiast of this repertory, is dominated by a luminous intimacy that does not rely on fearsome and spectacular effects, but concentrates on vocal beauty and subtle musical narration. The voices of Sandrine Piau and Carlo Vistoli lie at the heart of a structure in which the choir participates in an iridescent contrapuntal texture making full use of the skills gained during the composer’s years in Venice and Rome. The outcome of a long process of research, this recording is based on a new critical edition that presents for the first time a coherent and complete score of the Requiem, and incorporates the sections in plainchant, thus restoring the authentic musical balance Jommelli intended the work’s first listeners to experience. © Arcana
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Classical - Released August 14, 2020 | Arcana

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"El soto dei Frari", "the lame man of the Frari": this was the nickname given to the Venetian Giovanni Picchi, perhaps a pupil of Giovanni Croce, in the charges pressed against him in 1610 for teaching music to the nuns in the Spirito Santo without a licence. We also find this original and hot-tempered personality in his 19 Canzoni da sonar con ogni sorte d’istromenti (Venice 1625): a collection which reveals the brilliant flair of this still little-known composer. The detailed instrumentation given by the author allows us to recreate the typically Venetian aural splendour, with glorious sackbut choirs and virtuosic violins, recorders, cornetts and bassoon. With the Canzoni da Sonar, presented by Concerto Scirocco in the first ever complete recording of the work, Giovanni Picchi sculpts his mastery into music with a variety of vivid colours and pulsating affects, earning a place of honour in the world of the Venetian school. © Arcana
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Classical - Released April 24, 2020 | Arcana

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Classical - Released April 3, 2020 | Arcana

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In 1738 the acclaimed violinist and composer Michele Mascitti (1664-1760) published in Paris his ninth collection of sonatas. The seventy-four-year-old Neapolitan musician was at the end of his long and celebrated career, but not of his creative powers. Dedicated to the Crozat family, which was to be Mascitti’s patron until the end of his life, the twelve sonatas for violin and bass op.9 are fine examples of the graceful blend of Italian and French styles that made this composer so popular in France. With the world premiere of eight sonatas from Mascitti’s op. 9, the Quartetto Vanvitelli carries on the rediscovery of this music that Hubert Le Blanc likened ‘to the warbling of the nightingale’. After the success of their interpretation of Mascitti’s op.8, greeted as ‘a jewel of interpretation that exalts with grace, elegance and, more importantly, finesse of touch, the individual stylistic experimentation of Mascitti’ (A111), the ensemble Vanvitelli makes with this recording another decisive step towards the full appreciation of this remarkable and unjustly forgotten composer. © Arcana
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Classical - Released March 20, 2020 | Arcana

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Violinist Giuliano Carmignola and cellist Mario Brunello: one of the greatest interpreters of Vivaldi and Bach, whose recent recording of the Sonatas and Partitas was described by the authoritative magazine Gramophone as ‘a definite first choice among period instrument recordings of these works’; and his long-time friend Mario Brunello, acclaimed for his personal reinterpretation of that same famous collection on the violoncello piccolo (A469). Accompanied by the Milanese ensemble Accademia dell’Annunciata, they offer a highly original, experimental programme. Inspired by the three existing double concertos for violin and cello by Vivaldi – an unusual coupling in eighteenth century concerto literature – they revisit double concertos by Vivaldi and Bach (the famous BWV 1043 for two violins and BWV 1060 for violin and oboe), transposing the second solo part an octave lower on the violoncello piccolo. Underpinned by persuasive historical and musicological evidence, the approach first and foremost reveals their pleasure in working together on an innovative project. The outcome is a delightful opportunity to enjoy famous pieces in a totally different light. © Arcana
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Classical - Released March 20, 2020 | Arcana

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Ludwig van Beethoven went to Prague for the first time in 1796, accompanying Prince Lichnowsky, who introduced him to the city’s foremost aristocratic families. One of these was the Clam-Gallas family, who played an eminent role in musical circles. It was here that Beethoven met Josephine Clary-Aldringen, an amateur singer and mandolinist who in 1797 married Count Christian Christoph. It was to her that Beethoven dedicated a number of pieces for mandolin and piano that feature in this recording, along with two interesting sonatas by Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Bartolomeo Bortolazzi, originally composed for the same combination of instruments. Neapolitan mandolinist Raffaele La Ragione has already made several recordings of mandolin music, and this is his first recording with the Arcana label. Marco Crosetto, the founder of the ensemble La Vaghezza, is a Turin-based harpsichordist who in 2018 reached the semi-finals of the famous Musica Antiqua international competition in Bruges. The result of an in-depth study of the original sources, this selection of Beethoven’s lesser-known works constitutes a fitting and original contribution to the 250th anniversary celebrations. © Arcana
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Concertos - Released February 14, 2020 | Arcana

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After calling it ‘a wonderful album in all respects’, the magazine Diapason concluded its review of "Suite Case. Violin Duos from Vivaldi to Sollima" with the question, ‘When can we look forward to the second volume?’ In this new project, the violin of Stefano Barneschi gives way to the cello of Giovanni Sollima, the multi-talented musician from Palermo featured here not only as a composer. On this new journey, again beginning with Antonio Vivaldi, Giovanni Sollima and Chiara Zanisi travel between early and modern music, between classical and folk (the Old Scots Tunes of Francesco Barsanti), with two previously unrecorded gems by the Roman composer Giovanni Battista Costanzi. The entire recording is punctuated by tracks taken from Suite Case, a cycle composed especially by Sollima for this project. © Arcana

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