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Classical - Released March 19, 2021 | Ramée

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Königsberg in East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia) was a rare haven of peace during the Thirty Years’ War thanks to its geographical location. Many people, including artists and musicians, fled there from the horrors of plague and war. Heinrich Albert, a pupil of Heinrich Schütz (his cousin) and Johann Hermann Schein, the Thomaskantor in Leipzig, was appointed cathedral organist in the city in 1630. His garden hut, overgrown with pumpkin vines and suitably dubbed the ‘pumpkin hut’ (Kürbishütte), became the meeting place of the Königsberg Circle of Poets: a refuge and a space for cutting-edge creativity, spared from direct involvement in the war. Five musical tableaux, depicting different stages in the war, take the listener on an emotional journey and reflect the everyday emotions people of the period experienced: hope, fear, a longing for peace – but also despair and wrestling with faith in the face of the devastation of war. © Ramée
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Classical - Released February 19, 2021 | Ramée

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Johann Sebastian Bach never intended to compose flute sonatas or partitas in sets of 6 or 12, as was customary at the time (and as he himself did for violin, cello and harpsichord). Bach's flute sonatas evolved over a roughly 30-year period between ca. 1717–1747 as he encountered the different types of flute in fashion at the time, and met several greatly skilled flautists. The question of which flautist and flute makers Bach may have known played a decisive role in choosing the programme on this recording. In preparation, Frank Theuns compared and assessed the playing qualities of various early eighteenth-century flute types. Eventually, he decided on a copy of a flute made by Pierre-Gabriel Buffardin. The balanced, brilliant, Italianate sound of this instrument was a perfect match for the demands of this repertoire. As well as being an unequalled flautist and an accomplished composer, Buffardin was also a renowned flute maker whom Bach may have met in Dresden in 1717. © Ramée
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Classical - Released January 15, 2021 | Ramée

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
‘Music for a while / Shall all your cares beguile’ : in this famous song, Purcell invokes the power of music to soothe – at least temporarily – our pain and suffering. But do we really want to be soothed? Or do we prefer to cultivate our melancholy, in the company of Michel Lambert: ‘No, I sing not to charm away my sadness, but rather to maintain it’? In the St. John Passion, Bach associates the funereal sweetness of the viol with the death of Christ. Like him, many other composers have chosen the instrument to evoke mourning. The pieces recorded on this album form a frame of melancholy music, just as the Japanese character 優(Yuu) expresses the gentleness of ‘a person who stands next to someone who is sad’. Through the vector of these melancholy pieces, the Japanese gambist Kaori Uemura makes her viol sing to maintain, but also to console sadness. © Ramée
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Classical - Released January 8, 2021 | Ramée

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The 1750 Project proposes a journey from 1720 to 1750, each stage of which will allow us to discover the richness and specificity of a city’s musical life at a key juncture in its history. For the first episode in the 1750 Project, we stop off in Venice around 1726, at a pivotal moment in the history of music when the meeting of two styles led to an aesthetic turning point. The city, then dominated by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), also welcomed several other leading Italian composers, including the Neapolitan Nicola Porpora (1686-1768) and the Milanese Giuseppe Sammartini (1695-1750), who was about to revolutionise the world of wind instruments. The city on the lagoon was a cultural hub and a mandatory destination in the itinerary of many nobles and musicians from northern Europe who wished to round off their training and culture. Several German composers, including Pisendel, Quantz, Hasse and Handel, passed through Venice in the early eighteenth century before returning to their native regions to spread the gospel of Italian music. Let us therefore, for a short while, put ourselves in the shoes of an imaginary traveller discovering the musical life of Venice around 1726. © Ramée
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Classical - Released October 30, 2020 | Ramée

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Medieval interest in animals and mythical creatures was not limited to the visual arts and literature. At the same time that bestiaries – manuscripts depicting animals and mythical creatures – were being compiled, composers were producing innumerable pieces that describe these same beasts from a musical point of view. "Song of Beasts" combines medieval iconography with texts and music, immersing a modern audience in this fascinating world of verbal, visual and aural imagery. Ensemble Dragma paints a multifaceted, moving and indepth portrait of the bestiaries, giving a glimpse of a long lost medieval mindset. Various mythical and real animals are introduced, including the panther, the viper, the phoenix and the basilisk. These pieces by both renowned and less well-known composers are musical jewels, combining artful poetry with engaging melodies. © Ramée
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Classical - Released October 16, 2020 | Ramée

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Can one imagine a more unusual and colourful character than Baron Emanuele d’Astorga? Reading the various biographies concerning him, one has the impression he lived a thousand lives ... He fled Sicily around 1707 and met the Neapolitan poet and librettist Domenico Lalli, hailed by Goldoni as a ‘poetic genius’, who was to collaborate with many of the most important composers of the time, including Alessandro Scarlatti, Handel, Vivaldi, Albinoni and Caldara. The two men then forged a firm friendship in their travels across Italy with Rome as their destination. The ensemble Les Abbagliati has devised a programme built around these two protagonists. Three cantatas by d'Astorga and Giovanni Battista Bononcini respectively, recorded here for the first time, alternate with instrumental pieces by composers who had a close relationship with Lalli. © Ramée
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Classical - Released October 2, 2020 | Ramée

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Parisian composer Jean Boyer’s Recueil d’airs à boire et danser from 1636 belongs to a genuinely French genre of drinking and dance songs, a more light-hearted offspring of the "Air de cour". The latter, a courtly secular strophic song, became one of the most important vocal genres in the first third of the seventeenth century in France. Among the many collections of chansons à boire et à danser of the time, Boyer’s are probably the most compelling, both rhythmically and harmonically, and the texts he chose to set to music are generally more refined than some of his contemporaries’. From the mere number of copies of most of these collections extant in many European libraries, we realize how well diffused and popular this type of repertoire was, while it has been left virtually untouched in the twenty-first century. © Ramée
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Classical - Released September 4, 2020 | Ramée

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With the world premiere recording of a rediscovered Stabat Mater, a late work by the Bohemian master František Tůma, Pluto-Ensemble and Hathor Consort expand the Baroque discography with an emotionally gripping work. The version presented here, one of Tůma’s five settings of the text, long lay forgotten in the Abbey library in Ottobeuren, until Marnix De Cat (artistic director of the Pluto-Ensemble) rediscovered this gem. It is heard here with the Requiem in F minor by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber and instrumental works by Biber, his teacher Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and his Salzburg colleague Andreas Christoph Clamer. Animam gementem cano (‘I hymn the grieving soul’ – the first two words quote the Stabat Mater text) takes us on a journey through many of life's most significant moments: we are confronted with life and death, but also with our personal path towards consciousness. The programme is intended not only to provide comfort for the ‘captive grieving soul’ of every flesh-and-blood human being, but also to offer every curious music lover a voyage of discovery. © Ramée
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Classical - Released May 22, 2020 | Ramée

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"Empfindsamer Stil" or "Empfindsamkeit" developed in Germany by the middle of the 18th century with the main goal of expressing emotions in order to move the spectator. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Johann Sebastian’s second son, was the composer who best represented the style’s ideals. Christoph Friedrich Nicolai, a contemporary critic, aptly described the merit of C. P. E. Bach’s ingenious originality: “Anyone who would wish to see such a truly original composer as our Bach freely go his own way, untrammelled by custom or fashion, will find his heart’s desire in these splendid, unique symphonies”. These qualities probably explain why his symphonies kept being played up to modern days. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach goes into the deepest of his sentimental expression, with delicate harmonies and well-designed melodic lines alternating with tortuous melodic leaps, painful harmonic progressions and outstanding cantabile writing. Tempests of notes and harmonies supported by temperamental accompaniments from the strings are followed by the most sublime cantabiles, passages in an almost galant style, with short and simple melodic motifs. Striking harmonies and dissonant leaps are combined with sudden fermatas to create the dramatic instability typical of Sturm und Drang. A veritable musical fireworks in a captivating rendering by New Collegium! © Ramée
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Classical - Released March 13, 2020 | Ramée

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The era of Ludwig van Beethoven and Friedrich Kuhlau was one of great stylistic changes in music, as composers searched for new forms of expression and tonal possibilities while stimulating a rapid pace of innovation in the field of instrument design and manufacturing. This recording is anchored by two pillars of the nineteenth century repertoire for flute and piano: Beethoven’s Serenade, originally conceived as a trio for flute, violin and viola, bends the boundaries of classicism with impulsive dynamic changes and measured attention to timing, while Kuhlau’s Grande Sonate concertante reaches eagerly for a more Romantic aesthetic, inviting expressive freedom in its virtuosic writing and rich harmonic textures. The juxtaposition of works of Beethoven and Kuhlau on this recording is inspired by the delightful account of their personal encounter in September 1825, after which Beethoven wrote a canon on the text "kühl, nicht lau" ("cool, not lukewarm"), a friendly pun on Kuhlau’s name. © Ramée
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Classical - Released January 17, 2020 | Ramée

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Classical - Released November 8, 2019 | Ramée

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La Serenissima’s imposing standing in music history is reaffirmed again and again through the continuous presence of some of its greatest composers and musical works in concert and radio programs throughout the world. Inês d’Avena and Claudio Ribeiro wanted to have a different look at the repertoire, discover ‘new’ music, and perhaps add a small, new piece to the musical puzzle. In the autumn of 2018, they spent forty days in Venice exploring a number of musical archives. Among their new finds – six anonymous manuscript sonatas per flauto as well as for solo harpsichord, displaying the melodic freshness and rhythmic vivacity that is so appreciated in this repertoire – is also a newly discovered work by Vivaldi, all presented here as a world premiere. The exciting result of their research was recorded at a historic venue, the Sala della Musica dell’Ospedaletto in Venice. © Ramée
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Classical - Released November 1, 2019 | Ramée

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The Moravian-born multi-instrumentalist and composer Gottfried Finger is often found in the footnotes in modern music histories, yet during his lifetime few other composers could boast of the number of firsts and career milestones. In a varied and active career spanning more than half a century, he crossed paths with some of the leading composers of his day (Biber, Purcell, Telemann, Silvius Leopold Weiss and perhaps François Couperin, to name just a few). Finger could switch with great ease between faithful versions of the dominant French and Italian styles, but thanks to his experiences across such wide geographies, variety of musical styles, languages and cultures, his primary style is a truly pan-European phenomenon. Although Italian music was his main inspiration, it is difficult to assign Finger consistently to any kind of national style or regional school. This album presents premieres of twelve pieces from the second half of his career show-casing some of the breathtaking scope and scale of his output and his particular strength in deft handling of ear-tickling instrumental sonorities and virtuosity. © Ramée
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Classical - Released August 16, 2019 | Ramée

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With Cupid’s assistance, the sculptor Pygmalion brings his beloved creation to life. This recording treats us to two versions of the celebrated story. Jean-Philippe Rameau’s familiar oneact opera Pigmalion, in which the deus ex machina fulfils Pygmalion’s desires, is followed by Georg Benda’s little-known gem of the same name: a gripping monodrama for spoken voice and orchestra in which we can imagine the sculptor undergoing an inner conflict between desire and reality. Rising star Korneel Bernolet conducts his Apotheosis Orchestra and a group of young vocal partners: the Canadian haute-contre Philippe Gagné sings the passionate Pigmalion in Rameau’s opéra-ballet, alongside Lieselot De Wilde as his wife Céphise and Caroline Weynants as the divine Amour. Morgane Heyse performs the role of the enchanted Statue in both versions. German bass-baritone Norman D. Patzke makes his debut as voice actor for Benda’s monodrama. © Ramée/Outhere
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Classical - Released July 12, 2019 | Ramée

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In earlier times, adaptations and rearrangements of their own works or those of others formed an integral part of the daily lives of musicians and composers. So-called ‘historically informed’ performance practice, which has developed out of a strictly historical perspective on past eras of music, long left this way of treating an existing composition almost totally unexplored. Today, however, it is enjoying a renaissance and is part of a musician’s training. The idea of arranging Bach’s works is a natural one, since the composer himself was an inveterate transcriber. Most of the programme recorded here consists of solo keyboard works rescored for a chamber formation – in other words, the performers have chosen an approach that is the contrary of Bach’s usual practice. A fascination for the timbral possibilities of the viola da gamba trio and a shared passion for Bach’s music prompted the Cellini Consort to create this original and personal programme. © Ramée
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Classical - Released May 17, 2019 | Ramée

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
No eighteenth-century composer was so adept at so many musical styles as Georg Philipp Telemann. Telemann's versatility and inventiveness kept his musical style avant-garde during his entire life. He was not only praised by his contemporaries but was highly respected by the next generation: his fame was immense. Thererfore New Collegium, one of the promising ensembles of the younger generation, has chosen for their first studio recording on the Ramée label to show Telemann the chameleon, the breadth of his musical palette. Some of the pieces will undoubtedly sound familiar; others, such as the Italianate Trio for violin and cello obbligato, or the pastoral Trio for two violins in scordatura, will surely be delightful, new surprises for many. Coming in and out of disguise with Telemann’s chameleonic notes we often find ourselves wondering: is this truly music by just one composer, not six? © Ramée
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Chamber Music - Released March 15, 2019 | Ramée

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Giovanni Benedetto Platti was born in northern Italy and spent some of his youth in Venice, where his father was a violetta player at St Mark’s, before he received his court appointment as an oboist and violinist at the court chapel of Würzburg in 1722. Two years later, the music-loving and cello-playing count of Schönborn, Rudolf Franz Erwein, had managed to secure him as a musician for his own household at his small residence in the county of Wiesentheid. Platti composed - in addition to his ordinary ouptut for worldly and spiritual occasions - for the cello, the Count’s favourite instrument: a dozen sonatas, 28 concerti, 6 duets and over 21 trio sonatas in which the two melodic instruments are not playing at the same height. The music collection of the counts of Schönborn-Wiesentheid very probably consists of Erwein’s personal music library and is today an important historical music archive. Radio Antiqua present in partly world premiere six trio sonatas from that collection, which the count could presumably have played with Platti. © Ramée
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Classical - Released February 22, 2019 | Ramée

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or
Although we know of at least five concertos J.S. Bach wrote for solo organ we have no surviving Bach organ concertos with orchestral accompaniment. Contrast this with the 200+ cantatas: of these, 18 feature organ obbligato, which Bach uses as a solo instrument in arias, choral sections and sinfonias. The most obviously conspicuous date to 1726. In May to November of that year, Bach composed six cantatas which assign a prominent solo role to the organ. Most of these are reworkings of movements of lost violin and oboe concertos written in Bach’s time at Weimar and Köthen. Why Bach wrote such a number of obbligato organ cantatas in such a short period remains unknown. One possible explanation may lie in Dresden, where Bach had given a concert on the new Silbermann organ in the Sophienkirche in 1725. Some scholars think that, in addition to other organ works, he also performed organ concertos, or at least a few earlier versions of the sinfonias, with obbligato organ and strings in order to show off the organ. From the cantatas mentioned above, along with the related violin and harpsichord concertos, it is perfectly possible to reconstruct a number of three-movement organ concertos of this type. By using this method, we hope to bring some of the music which Bach may have performed in Dresden in 1725 back to life. © Ramée/Outhere
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Classical - Released January 25, 2019 | Ramée

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Jealousy, tenderness, loneliness and longing, desire, unattainability, sensuality, frustration, love, lust and loss in all their configurations come together in Ossesso. The old masters allow us no escape from the painfully vivid portrayals of their experiences. Tromboncino and Gesualdo exemplify the extremes of which obsessiveness is capable, in their music as in their lives; in this sense, they are precursors to Phil Spector, Sid Vicious, or Bertrand Cantat. – A selection of absolutely touching madrigals about love and affliction that represent the kaleidoscope of feelings and emotions of their composers, be it in the late Middle Ages or in the Renaissance, interspersed with some instrumental pieces. © Outhere Music
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released November 2, 2018 | Ramée

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Here's something fascinating: music from the 14th and early 15th centuries, lost for hundreds of years, has now been rediscovered thanks to some space-age technology. Because, in fact, the original manuscripts were never lost. In reality, the paper had been scrubbed and recycled or covered over with palimpsests because of the prohibitive price of parchment at the time. And so a whole body of Florentine works from the era of Petrarch, Boccacio, Dante and Machiavelli was erased to make room for 16th century poems. A careful examination of the San Lorenzo Palimpsest revealed that multi-spectral photography (anyone who knows what that is, raise your hand…) of the pages can render the underlying layer perfectly legible, and so now 111 pages of music from the 14th century can see the light of day. After six hundred years of multi-spectral silence, these pieces are interpreted here by the La Morra ensemble, which specialises in late medieval and Renaissance music with voice and instruments like the lute, vielle, clavicymbalum and recorder. There is an intensity of emotion in hearing these pieces which until now we never knew existed, written by composers of whom we know almost nothing such as Giovanni Mazzuoli and his son Piero, Paolo da Firenze or Jacopo da Bologna. Here they take centre stage. © SM/Qobuz