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Classical - Released October 8, 2021 | Passacaille

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From the budding blossoms of first love and the heat of passion, to when feelings subside and fade away, “the seasons of love” are the overarching theme of this programme of madrigali concertati by three notable members of the Venetian school: Biagio Marini, Giovanni Rovetta and Giovanni Valentini. The madrigals on this recording exemplify the new musical aesthetic of affetti and the seasons of nature are mirrored by the stages of love experienced by the lyrical hero. The ever-changing vocal and instrumental forces of up to six singers and seven instrumentalists lend colourful variety to the recording as it progresses from primavera, estate, autunno and inverno through the seasons of love.
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Classical - Released September 24, 2021 | Passacaille

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Flemish composer Johan Huys is equally proficient on all keyboard instruments, but he is best known as a harpsichordist. He was president of the competition at the MA Festival Bruges for 39 years. For this worldfamous competition, which is inextricably linked to him, he composed several pieces for harpsichord, including the compulsory work for the 2018 harpsichord competition: Ceci n’est pas une passacaille. Here, his former pupil Guy Penson has recorded this piece and other outstanding harpsichord works by Johan Huys. © Passacaille
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Classical - Released September 17, 2021 | Passacaille

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Classical - Released June 25, 2021 | Passacaille

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With this recording, Swiss harpsichordist Michel Kiener presents his interpretation of the Goldberg Variations, one of Bach’s absolute masterpieces. completed both his piano and harpsichord studies at the Geneva Conservatoire, where he won the prize of virtuosity in both disciplines. He perfected his art with Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam and was laureate of the Bruges International Harpsichord Competition. Due to his versatility and his passion for chamber music, Kiener has performed with many outstanding artists such as Christophe Coin, the Kuijken brothers, Ryo Terakado and singers such as Marta Almajano and Jennifer Smith. As a soloist he performed with the ensembles Il Giardino Armonico and Il Gardellino. Michel Kiener performs the Goldberg Variations on his magnificent harpsichord with sumptuous bass made by William Dowd in Paris in 1978, modelled on an instrument made by Nicolas Blanchet in 1730. © Passacaille
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Classical - Released June 11, 2021 | Passacaille

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The Italian Renaissance is the golden age of the lute. In quality and quantity, the lute pieces from this period are comparable to the piano works of the 19th century. Most of the works selected for this recording are by Francesco da Milano, an extraordinary virtuoso and gifted composer who was also known as “Il Divino” (the Divine), an epithet he shared with Michelangelo and Monteverdi. In addition to lute pieces by da Milano, the recording also includes other equally outstanding works by contemporaries, among them some of the Milanese’s pupils. Thanks to this selection, it is easy to comprehend still today why the lute was considered the noblest instrument of all in the 16th century: Il nobilissimo istromento. © Passacaille
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Classical - Released May 28, 2021 | Passacaille

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Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater was extremely popular throughout Europe soon after it was composed in 1736. Countless printed and handwritten versions of this work, which was considered the stylistic ideal of sacred music in the 18th century, can be found in libraries all over the world. There are five manuscript copies of the Stabat Mater in the archives of Málaga Cathedral. This recording presents a version performed when Juan Francés de Iribarren was chapel master there. He did not copy the work exactly, but created a revision with substantial changes. Also included in the recording are some of Iribarren’s own works. © Passacaille
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Classical - Released May 21, 2021 | Passacaille

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In addition to his famous large-scale song cycles, Schubert also composed and published numerous smaller song compilations. Some of these “miniature cycles” consist of songs written at different times and under different circumstances, but which Schubert himself assembled on the basis of thematic and textual connections. The selected cycles appeared in print during Schubert’s publishing career of just eight years. Today, these songs are usually performed as individual works and taken out of context - here they are presented in the order carefully planned by the composer, just as they were heard at the famous "Schubertiades". © Passacaille
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Classical - Released May 14, 2021 | Passacaille

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The claviorganum is not an instrument we hear much from these days, but versions of this cross between a harpsichord and an organ – which could be played individually or together, on one or two manuals – were by no means a rare sight in Europe between the 15th and 18th centuries, with Henry VIII owning several. What's more, it was no Frankenstein creation for mere curiosity's sake, but instead an eminently practical piece of problem-solving, because while the harpsichord is perfectly suited to fast, brilliant passagework, but can neither sustain long notes nor change tone or dynamic, the slightly-less-horizontally-nimble organ counts those latter deficiencies as its key strengths. As for why we haven't seen a resurgence of claviorganum sightings as period performance has gone mainstream, perhaps it's a combination of very few examples having survived in their original state, and the fact that composers of that period rarely specified on their manuscripts as to which keyboard instrument should be used. Which leads us nicely to this Handel programme from organist, harpsichordist and conductor Bart Naessens with period ensemble Il Gardellino, because when there's no surviving evidence that Handel was familiar with the claviorganum himself, their programme is necessarily a hypothetical one, simply presenting repertoire for which the instrument feels a good fit. It's a richly and various selection too, showing the instrument in both soloist and continuo role, and showing off Il Gardellino themselves in their own chamber and orchestra modes: three organ concerti (HWV 292, HWV 293, HWV 306), the Oboe Concerto in G minor, HWV 287 (arranged for Flute in A minor), the Harpsichord Suite in F major, HWV 427, the Concerto grosso in D major, HWV 317 and the Trio Sonata in B minor, HWV 386b. The resultant performances are a great listen, with highlights coming thick and fast. Inevitably the flute concerto is one such highlight, when it's a Thoroughly Good Thing anyway to flit mid-concerto between harpsichord and organ continuo, and even more so in flute concertos where the dulcet timbre of organ pipes is so complimentary. But its success is equally down to flautist Jan De Winne's beautifully shaped and shaded solo lines, and the vibrant and well-balanced capturing of the violins as they dialogue with him. Also indeed for the buoyant elegance from Il Gardellino, both here and everywhere else. Another especial treat is the Harpsichord Suite, HWV 427which inevitably sounds transformed under De Winne's well-judged distribution of the score between harpsichord and organ. The Opus 7 “London” Organ Concerto in B-flat major, HWV 306 is also sounding radiant. About the recording location: the impression is of a substantial church space which comes over as warmly supportive in the chamber works, and more strikingly resonant in the orchestral numbers; and while with the latter there's occasionally the slight impression of ensemble sound swimming in the space, it's always attractive and gives a colourful sense of place. A really nice blend of curiosity factor and top-drawer playing. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released May 14, 2021 | Passacaille

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In 1959, two composers wrote nonets: Nino Rota’s melodic Nonetto, on which he would continue to work for almost twenty years, and Bohuslav Martinů’s farewell chamber music piece, a Nonet, which he composed as a last piece to satisfy his longing for his homeland. Eisler did not compose his nonet in his native country either, but arrived in Mexico in 1941 as a refugee from the Nazis. There he wrote the music for John Steinbeck’s documentary film The Forgotten Village, which served as the inspiration for his Nonet No. 2. With this recording, the ensemble Oxalys presents us with the opportunity to rediscover these three nonets - three masterpieces by key protagonists of 20th century music history. © Passacaille
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Classical - Released May 14, 2021 | Passacaille

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Classical - Released March 26, 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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Classical - Released March 12, 2021 | Passacaille

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"Il violoncello di Corelli" leads us to the origins of the solo cello literature – although one should actually use the term violone. In fact, the cello, as we know it today in its standard form, had many different sizes before its current proportions became generally established. Some instruments were larger, and the smaller ones were referred to by the diminutive form of the term violone – hence the word violoncello. And one of these early ‘bigger brothers’ is the main protagonist of this recording: the instrument played by Alessandro Palmeri was built by Simone Cimapane in Rome in 1685. It is a rare testimony to the original size of the violone. It is furthermore a unique instrument because it was used in ensembles in Rome in which Corelli himself played. Alessandro Palmeri presents a compilation of works from the early solo literature for cello by composers such as Domenico Gabrielli, Giuseppe Pietro Gaetano Boni, Giuseppe Colombi and Giovanni Battista Vitali. The extraordinarily prolific period, both artistically and musically, which prevailed in Emilia Romagna throughout the 17th century, provided the conditions for the creation and development of the cello literature. The works on this recording mark the transition from the epoch of the violone to the epoch of the violoncello. With them, the cello was ultimately freed from the continuo role to which it had previously been limited. © Passacaille
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Classical - Released February 26, 2021 | Passacaille

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Classical - Released February 12, 2021 | Passacaille

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During the height of its popularity, from the mid-16th century into the 18th, the cornetto was frequently depicted in art as an instrument of angels. Paintings, sculptures, and engravings abound in which the cornetto takes a prominent place among choirs of angelic musicians, usually paired with at least one voice and with other instruments such as the organ, viol, lute, harp, violin and trombone. For this project Bruce Dickey and Hana Blažíková take the image of angel musicians as a point of departure for an aural journey ranging from 1600 to the present day. From sacred monodies and motets of the early 1600s to opera arias from the end of the century, via a brief diversion to Erik Satie, we arrive at two specially commissioned contemporary works, all the while focussing on the angelic and radiant pairing of the cornetto with the human voice. © Passacaille
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Classical - Released February 12, 2021 | Passacaille

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The paths of I Solisti and Frederik Neyrinck first crossed in 2011. The ensemble immediately recognised the artistic talent of the Flemish composer and together they set up a long-term collaboration. The fruits thereof can be heard on this album, which consists exclusively of works by Neyrinck, written especially for the ensemble. This recording also marks a new chapter in their ongoing partnership, since he joined the artistic team of I Solisti as Artist in Residence, for a period of four years. With I Solisti, Neyrinck developed his affinity for wind instruments – a fascination from an early age and a common thread through his entire oeuvre. He’s always searching for refined combinations between instruments in the ensemble. This emphasis on the mixing of timbres from woodwinds and brass was also a key consideration while compiling the album and paints a heterogenous picture. In Suite "Homo Deus Frankenstein" (2020) a playful and colourful sound is heard, whereas the abstract musical material in Axe-I (2013), Gestalt I (2011), Gestalt V (2012), 1. Echo der Gestalt I (2011) and 2. Echo der Gestalt I (2011) produces strongly different results. In doing so, this album manages to capture the many facets of Neyrinck’s work. © Passacaille
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Classical - Released January 29, 2021 | Passacaille

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Johannes Brahms composed only a small number of original works for piano four hands, but arranged almost all of his chamber music and orchestral works for this instrumentation. He played most of them immediately after their completion with Clara Schumann and greatly appreciated her opinion. In his Hungarian Dances Brahms brilliantly transformed original Hungarian melodies and rhythms into multi-coloured orchestral works. The Blüthner grand piano from 1867 shows how Brahms made perfect use of the entire keyboard in his writing for four hands. The various registers appear completely transparent and clear. It is not generally known that Brahms was a great admirer and friend of Johann Strauss. And he loved waltzes! Thus Brahms also created an instrumental version of his Liebeslieder-Walzer for piano four hands. Robert Schumann’s last theme, which he wrote for his so-called "Ghost Variations" immediately before being admitted to a mental hospital, is used by Brahms in his homage to Schumann, which was written immediately after his death in 1856: the Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 23 for piano four hands, which ends with an impressive funeral march. For the piano duo Wyneke Jordans & Leo van Doeselaar it was an obvious choice to conclude their series with recordings of four-handed piano works by great German composers on period instruments with Brahms. © Passacaille
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Classical - Released January 22, 2021 | Passacaille

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In this recording, cellist Elinor Frey and Passacaille Records present the six sonatas and one concerto of one of the most noteworthy and fascinating Italian cellist-composers of the 18th century. Antonio Vandini’s works span from 1717 in Venice (just a few years before he taught at the La Pietà school alongside the legendary Vivaldi) to about the 1750s when his last sonatas were written (probably as he toured the world with his musical partner, the famous violinist, Giuseppe Tartini). Captivated by Vandini’s ability to draw out some of the finest qualities of the cello by expertly blending both lyricism and virtuosity, Elinor Frey, cellist-musicologist Marc Vanscheeuwijck, and gambist Patxi Montero together explored Vandini’s particular playing techniques. As shown in drawings, portraits, and eye-witness accounts, Vandini was one of the last remaining cellists to continue to use an underhand bow technique. Harpsichordist Federica Bianchi joined the team for the recording, held at the at the Sala della Carità, a short walk from the St-Antonio Basilica in Padua where Vandini spent most of his musical life. © Passacaille Records
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Classical - Released December 4, 2020 | Passacaille

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Deep remorse and the longing for divine redemption are two of the central topics in the cantatas of Northern German Baroque composers. Griet De Geyter and Il Gardellino have selected three exemplary works in this genre by Dieterich Buxtehude, Georg Philipp Telemann and Johann Sebastian Bach, giving special emphasis to the clearly led voice and striking expressivity of the young Belgian soprano. The emotional climax is Bach’s cantata with obbligato oboe Mein Herz schwimmt im Blut, BWV 199, which is based on Christ’s parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. The programme is complemented by an instrumental sonata by Buxtehude and two organ versions of the chorale Jesu, meine Freude, played by Leo van Doeselaar. © Passacaille
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Chamber Music - Released November 20, 2020 | Passacaille

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Vienna. 1803. George Bridgetower, a violinist of Afro-European descent, causes furore with his virtuosity and captivates Beethoven, who writes a devilish and magnificent sonata for his unique and exotic character. Despite the premiere’s enormous success performed by both of them, an unfortunate comment by the violinist about one of the composer’s female friends leads to this famous sonata being finally re-dedicated to Rodolphe Kreutzer, who however would never interpret it because of its enormous difficulty. Ten years later, Beethoven composes his next and last violin sonata, dedicated to Pierre Rode, in a completely different character, enormously poetic and introverted. Written in the stage of Beethoven’s life widely associated with his “Immortal Beloved”, the sonata nevertheless retains his incomparable energy. Described as “Fiery virtuoso” (The Strad) “the Soul Violinist” (Sankei Shinbun) or “Devil’s fiddler” (Bayerischer Rundfunk), Lina Tur Bonet joins now Aurelia Visovan, the 2019 winner of the MA Competition in Bruges, to celebrate the german composer in these Sonatas. After an intense investigation, inspired among others by Clive Brown’s extensive research on the topic, a daring and innovative version is offered, combining Beethovenian’s fire, poetry and humour with the search for the authentic. © Passacaille
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Classical - Released November 20, 2020 | Passacaille

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Without doubt, Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) left an indelible impression on every genre of 20th century English music. However, it is his smaller scale vocal repertoire that is particularly fascinating. Featuring three of Britten’s Canticles as well as a selection of his best realizations (or “arrangements”, if you want) of Songs by Henry Purcell (1659-95), this recording represents the mature revival of English song. The Canticles presented on this recording (numbers 1-3) are masterful, morally charged pieces. They demand of the singer and pianist careful attention to how Britten uses text as the starting point for all of his works. The Purcell Realizations further illustrate the genius of Benjamin Britten. Benjamin Britten strikes the ideal balance between providing unbelievably stirring music and serving the text without overwhelming its intent. This recording demonstrates Britten’s preeminence among 20th century song composers. © Passacaille