Baroque virtuosi Il Giardino Armonico prove how exciting original instruments can be by clearing out the intellectual and sensuous ballast that a work accumulates over the centuries to allow it to sparkle in its genuine colours. With wide screen picture format (16:9) and digital surround sound audio quality, this film not only proves the quality and versatility of the ensemble, but also manages to serve baroque music to a 21st century audience using state-of-the-art video technology.
Ombre de mon amant is Anne Sofie von Otter's first recording of these French Baroque Arias–graceful, temperamental tunes which will delight her fans and thrill Baroque music cognoscenti. Von Otter's mastery of diverse musical genres, crystalline diction and exquisite musicality empower her interpretations of French repertoire. Her celebrated Offenbach album and album of rarities by Chaminade are previous examples of her success in the French repertory. Every bit a woman of the theater as she is of song, von Otter embodies Charpentier's Médée and Rameau's Phèdre in Hippolyte et Aricie in the grand manner in which they were surely performed originally. Von Otter is partnered by William Christie and his matchless ensemble, Les Arts Florissants, who bring exuberant energy and theatrical flair to every track.
With so much excellent work over the years from MAK, this relatively early jewel has often been overlooked. Music by minor masters this may be but Goebel and his high-powered team are at their persuasive best. (L. K., Gramophone, Sept. 2007)
It is only recently that two seemingly unconnected names, those of Vivaldi and the viola da gamba, have been uttered in the same breath. The established, uncontested view on the matter was quite simply this: from the middle of the 17th century, the viol, which was still flourishing north of the Alps, had all but disappeared in Italy, where it had been replaced by the bass violin and, subsequently, by the cello.
The lighter music of the splendid French Baroque remains in need of greater exposure, making this disc of cantatas by the young Jean-Philippe Rameau and André Campra a welcome arrival. Here is some of the music the royals and aristocrats heard not in halls of opera and ballet but in more intimate surroundings, for amusement, with one or two singers and a small instrumental grouping.
On this disc, we feature the works of three composers – Vincent d’Indy, Ernst Krenek, and Erwin Schulhoff – who all in the mid- to late-1920s adopted neoclassicism and chose to write works in the neo-baroque concerto grosso style, using a combination of a small orchestra and a small group of soloists. D’Indy wrote the Concert, his last orchestral piece, at the age of seventy-five.
Although Ries studied with Beethoven, the concerto's length and overall design recall not so much the concerto of Beethovian stamp but the tradition of the French violin concerto literature a la Rodolphe Kreutzer and Pierre Rode, while also being distinguished by a dramaturgical plan all of its own. Ries is even more richly imaginative in matters of detail in his only composition in the concertante style, the Concerto for Two Natural Horns and Orchestra of 1811. Two highly effective overtures from two of his operas, Die Rauberbraut and Liska, round off this CD program.