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Classical - Released November 20, 2020 | Ricercar

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‘Fear not...’ The Angel’s words to the shepherds suggest the daring premise of this recording, which, for Ricercar’s fortieth anniversary, enriches in highly original fashion the series dedicated to the discovery of early instruments and their repertory. The cover illustration, depicting two angels playing the bass shawm and the bassoon, perfectly portrays the subject of this disc devoted to the original repertories written for the two instruments in seventeenth-century Germany, whether it be the ceremonial music of the Stadtpfeifer (town musicians), chamber music or even sacred compositions. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released November 13, 2020 | Ricercar

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In the 1960s, the blossoming interest in the rediscovery of early music was due in part to instrumentalists who also played a very active role in creating the newest contemporary works. It was in this context that Pierre Bartholomée wrote a Tombeau de Marin Marais for the musicians of the Alarius ensemble (Janine Rubinlicht, Robert Kohnen, Wieland and Sigiswald Kuijken) who played in the Musiques Nouvelles ensemble at the same time. The musicians of that generation are in a sense the ‘ancestors’ of those who became the first artists on the Ricercar label. This recording, released as part of Ricercar’s fortieth anniversary celebrations, thus pays tribute to Bartholomée’s pioneering initiative by reissuing a remastered version of his composition alongside recent works written for the period instruments of some of the label’s key ensembles in 2020. © Ricercar
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Chamber Music - Released October 30, 2020 | Ricercar

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Luigi Zenobi, a virtuoso cornettist known as ‘Luigi del cornetto’, was born in Ancona in the mid-sixteenth century. He later moved to Vienna, where he entered the service of the Emperor Maximilian II. His reputation grew and he subsequently worked for the Este family in Ferrara, where he was the most respected and best-paid musician at court up to that time, so sought-after were his talents. Luigi was also a painter, poet, miniaturist and music scholar. An eyewitness recalled the delicacy of his playing: "softer than the harpsichord when its lid is closed". Giovanni Sansoni, a composer and cornettist probably originally from Venice, was born around 1593. He was engaged by Archduke Ferdinand of Austria in Graz in 1613 and followed him to Vienna when he became Emperor in 1619. He sent his compositions to Saxony, and the young Schütz sent him former choirboys to be taught the cornett and the bassoon, two instruments on which he was an absolute master. Sansoni became the inspiration for the great instrumental composers of the first half of the seventeenth century in Vienna. These two legends of the cornett have one thing in common: they were both knighted by an emperor, Zenobi even calling himself "Cavaliere del cornetto". © Ricercar
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Classical - Released October 2, 2020 | Ricercar

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After devoting a recording to sonatas by Giuseppe Tartini, for this anniversary year of the illustrious Paduan virtuoso, Evgeny Sviridov offers us a recording of Violin C
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released September 25, 2020 | Ricercar

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Andreas Hammerschmidt is undoubtedly the most unjustly neglected composer of seventeenth-century Lutheran Germany. Very few recordings have been devoted to him, even though his music was widely published during his lifetime. The fifteen or so published collections offer a great variety of works, which, like those of his famous contemporary Heinrich Schütz, illustrate the fusion between the Lutheran polyphonic tradition and the various stylistic influences of the Italian Baroque. For this musical portrait of Hammerschmidt, Vox Luminis has drawn on several of these collections in order to offer as rounded a picture as possible of the variety of the composer’s styles. The entire programme is structured around texts for Passiontide and Easter, introduced by an intensely moving madrigalian motet on the death of Christ, Ach Jesus stirbt. An evocation of Passiontide and Easter in the company of Andreas Hammerschmidt, one of the most unjustly neglected composers of seventeenth-century Germany. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released September 18, 2020 | Ricercar

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Classical - Released August 21, 2020 | Ricercar

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The first notes of the descending chromatic theme break the silence and it seems as if time has stopped. The listener is drawn into the world of John Dowland, the greatest lutenist of all, in a journey through multiple shades of melancholy and lucent hope. Never before had the lute sounded as expressive and colourful as in these masterful Fancies, as dynamic as in these sparkling dances: Renaissance lute music here reached its summit. Bor Zuljan explores these qualities in his debut solo recording, breathing new life into Dowland's masterpieces. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released August 14, 2020 | Ricercar

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Classical - Released August 14, 2020 | Ricercar

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François Devienne (1759-1803), sometimes nicknamed the ‘French Mozart’, was equalled famed for his talents as a flautist and a bassoonist. He was one of the first professors at the Paris Conservatoire, established in the early years of the Republic. Devienne devoted a large proportion of his compositions, in several different forms, to the two instruments of which he was a virtuoso exponent. The programme presents several of his trios, which combine the violin and the cello with the two wind instruments in turn. These works possess all the charm of the galant aesthetic that developed in the late eighteenth century, along with a certain penchant for virtuosity. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released April 17, 2020 | Ricercar

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With its ciaconna bass, Hammerschmidt’s sacred concerto Nun danket alle Gott perfectly exemplifies the programme of this recording devoted to the influences of the Italian Baroque on the works of seventeenth-century Lutheran composers. The vast majority of the repertory gathered here comes once again from the exceptionally rich library assembled at the end of the seventeenth century by Gustav Düben, organist of the German Church in Stockholm. His collection contains the only known copy of a Confitebor tibi, Domine by Claudio Monteverdi. Other composers such as Bernhard and Rosenmüller had very close links with Italy and were among those who helped to disseminate Italian practices in the German-speaking lands. In all this sacred repertory, the role of instruments, and particularly that of the violin (the emblematic instrument of Italy), is highly developed. The instruments accompany the voice and comment on the texts in most expressive fashion. This programme also offers a chance to discover some gems by lesser-known composers such as Hanff, Pfleger and Pohle. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released April 3, 2020 | Ricercar

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In his Musick’s Monument of 1676, Thomas Mace described in great detail numerous aspects of contemporary musical life in London. This volume evokes all the characteristics of English music, going back to the most glorious years of the Renaissance, with a particular emphasis on the repertory written for consort of viols. While his writings describe the performing practices of the time, they also provide invaluable information on instrument making, which has enabled L’Achéron to build a ‘set’ of six viols following Mace’s indications. For this new project of English music, the ensemble inaugurates a new virginal and an organ made in accordance with the famous theorist’s specifications. The programme comprises fantasias, ayres and dances by composers who brought this viol consort tradition to its peak, including Alfonso Ferrabosco, John Ward, William White, Thomas Lupo, Richard Dering, Giovanni Coperario, William Lawes, John Jenkins and Christopher Simpson. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released March 13, 2020 | Ricercar

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The sudden death of Henri Ledroit in 1988, at the age of just forty-two, left music-lovers in a state of shock. His voice was new and unique among the French singers of the time and during his first encounter with Alfred Deller at a training course in Lacoste, the two of them hit it off immediately. The famous English countertenor was impressed by his trainee’s exceptional talent and strongly encouraged the young singer. From then on, Henri Ledroit’s career took off, both in concert as well as on stage with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and René Jacobs. In 1986, he sang as Ottone in Claudio Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppaea at the Lausanne Opera (Théâtre du Jorat), which had just opened under the direction of Renée Auphan. The production, directed by Michel Corboz and staged by Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser, would go down in history and the visual recordings of the performance are a testament to this. The great work of Du Mont is now being rediscovered thanks to the tireless efforts of Belgian musicologist Jérôme Lejeune under the Ricercar label and is intended to be played by the ensemble with the same name, under the direction of Jean Tubéry and Philippe Pierlot. This recording of Henry Du Mont’s Motets à voix seule from the early 1980s also features the vocals of the early Gérard Lesne. A pioneering work that can be heard today with all its original emotion intact. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released March 13, 2020 | Ricercar

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Classical - Released March 6, 2020 | Ricercar

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Johann Paul von Westhoff (1656-1705) was one of the most brilliant members of the significant school of violinists that flourished in seventeenth-century Dresden. This impressive virtuoso, who was even applauded by Louis XIV at Versailles, wrote the very first compositions for unaccompanied violin, which of course foreshadow the later masterpieces of Johann Sebastian Bach. The programme recorded here includes some suites from his collection published in Dresden in 1696, as well as the suite that was printed in the Mercure galant of Paris in 1683, following his visit to Versailles. © Ricercar
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Chamber Music - Released January 17, 2020 | Ricercar

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A short-lived instrument which has long since disappeared, the arpeggione is a weird and wonderful creation. Dreamt up with the wild imagination of the Austrian luthier Johann Georg Stauffer, who specialized in guitars, this instrument which was invented in 1823 is a kind of 6-string guitar that is played with a bow. It was rather awkward to play, the six strings and the shape of the bridge making the bowing particularly delicate. The arpeggione has long since joined the cohort of instrumental oddities forever populating dusty museum windows, testimony to the creativity of curious inventors. A guitarist himself, like many young romantic men, Schubert became so interested in this instrument that he dedicated a sonata to it. Mainly played today on the cello, it was made famous in the 20th century by the legendary recordings of Emmanuel Feuermann in 1937 and then of Rostropovitch with Benjamin Britten in the early 1960s. It is now commonly played by cellists. Guido Balestracci has crafted a programme around this famous sonata with transcriptions of works by Schubert for rare instruments: fortepiano, terz guitar, archlute and, of course, an arpeggione reconstructed by the Italian luthier Paolo Giuseppe Rabino in 2011 based on an instrument made in Prague in the 19th century. Although this rehabilitation is not the first on record, it nevertheless allows us to recover a strange sound that we thought had been lost. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 1, 2019 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Giovanni Battista Colonna (1637-95) spent most of his career in Bologna as maestro di cappella of the basilica of San Petronio. Since he had at his disposal this imposing building with its two choir organs, well known to lovers of the instrument, and its very generous acoustics, Colonna wrote a large number of sacred compositions for imposing vocal and instrumental forces. But, in a more intimate vein, he also devoted two collections to the repertory of ‘small motets’. The pieces recorded here come from the 1681 set of Motetti a due e tre voci (1681). They display a wide variety of formulas, combining traditional elements and innovative aspects that were to be further developed in the following generations. These gems are highly representative of the style of small motets that heralds the stile concertante. They are characterised by various combinations of voices (from solo recitative to a mixture of vocal duets or trios in different scorings) and a broad range of formal structures bound up with the very nature of the texts. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Ricercar

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Classical - Released October 11, 2019 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
The music of Marin Marais is now a part of the repertoire of all viola players, and here is graced with a royal visit, from Jordi Savall, on the opening track. This music displays all the melancholy of the closing years of the 17th Century, through the lens of the many pieces composed by Marais for the Chambre du Roi for which he was responsible. This Deuxième Livre de pièces de viole presented in the new album, recorded between 2015 and 2018, dates from 1701, well after the death of surintendant Lully, and during the bleak and final years of the reign of Louis XIV, who by then had become and austere religious zealot. In the Deuxième Livre, Marin Marais presents a whole catalogue of the human condition and renders moving homage to his departed masters, Lully and Sainte-Colombe. This voluminous Deuxième Livre contains no fewer than 142 pieces, ordered by key, allowing musicians to construct their suites as they please. The overall spirit is of grandeur and the monumental, with often very daring harmonies, as if Marin Marais wanted to drop them on his young competitors in the small Parisian world of viol da gamba. François Joubert-Caillet plays viola and leads the Belgian ensemble L’Achéron, made up of a bass viola and a rich continuo created by a harp, a theorbo, a guitar and a harpsichord. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | Ricercar

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Of those composers who held the highest positions at St Mark’s basilica in Venice, Natale Monferrato (1610-85) is manifestly one of the most thoroughly forgotten nowadays. After working with the leading musicians of this prestigious institution, he succeeded Francesco Cavalli as maestro di cappella in 1676. His output, consisting exclusively of sacred music, includes some twenty collections published between 1647 and 1681. Although he wrote a great deal of polyphonic music, he also produced three collections of Motetti a voce sola. Most unusually, these three books accord an important place to compositions for the often neglected alto voice. They are so voluminous that only the Libro Terzo of 1666 was used for this recording. The motets are divided into varied and contrasted sections that range from the spirit of recitative to that of the aria, using very diverse forms in a manner that is bound to remind us of the models of opera as it developed in Venice from 1637 onwards. This world premiere recording blazes the trail for discovery of an undeservedly neglected composer. © Ricercar/Outhere