"…As it stands, this is an issue that can be warmly recommended musically and technically without reservation—except perhaps to those who hanker after rich Romantic tone and find the characteristic sound of baroque violins wiry. Even they, however, could not fail to be stirred by the enormous vitality of these performances: the word 'routine' simply doesn't seem to exist in the vocabulary of this splendid team of virtuosi. Its Vivaldi, which brings home the point that the Folies d'Espagne was (as its name implies) originally a frenzied dance, is in itself worth getting the disc for; 'the' Pachelbel canon played in the proper style might wean slush-wallowers away from the soupiness in which it is usually drenched; but the Handel trio sonata (incorporating themes from various stage works) is also a delight; and the glorious sense of controlled freedom which permeates the Bach, meticulously phrased and stylishly ornamented, uplifts the spirit." ~Grammophone
Reinhard Goebel founded Musica Antiqua Köln in 1973. The ensemble devoted itself to playing Baroque music on period instruments, with a particular penchant for playing neglected or overlooked repertoire. Many of their best albums have sold well without featuring music by well-known composers. These releases also appear to have boosted the (posthumous) careers of composers such as Heinichen, with their concerti album from 1993, and the Veracini Overture album from 1994. Goebel has not only shown courage in programming unconventional repertoire, but has also been known to take risks in his approach to relatively well-known works. For instance, his ensemble plays the last movement of Bach's third Brandenburg concerto at a then unrivaled, break-neck tempo. Furthermore, Goebel had sound musicological evidence that the piece should be played that way.
Pachelbel was not only a famous organist, but also a prolific composer. This recording offers the chance to hear his six suites entitled "Musical Delight". These pieces are true gems of 17th-century instrumental music, just like his famous "Canon and Gigue", in which Pachelbel skilfully combines his knowledge of counterpoint and his creativity in the field of variation
The English Concert is a baroque orchestra playing on period instruments based in London. Founded in 1972 and directed from the harpsichord by Trevor Pinnock for 30 years, it is now directed by harpsichordist Harry Bicket. The orchestra has been led by Nadja Zwiener since September 2007. The English Concert was founded by Trevor Pinnock and others in November 1972. The date of foundation is often given as 1973, probably because they started with seven people and only later progressed onto the orchestral repertoire as their number increased. They were one of the first orchestras dedicated to performing baroque and early classical music on period instruments, their repertoire from then to now ranging approximately from Monteverdi to Mozart…
Arguably Pachelbel's masterpiece, "Apollo's Lyre" is a series of six arias, each of which consists of a set of highly contrasted variations on the initial theme. As a composer, Pachelbel was perhaps most interested in the variation principal, in direct contrast to his great successor, Bach, who used the form only rarely (but then typically wrote the greatest variation work ever–the "Goldberg Variations"). The musical argument is easy to follow, and the tunes themselves simple and memorable. John Butt frames the work with two mighty chaconnes. A chaconne is basically the same thing as a passacaglia, namely a series of variations over a constantly repeating bass line. Try this disc. You're in for a pleasant surprise.
Though the bass line of a certain celebrated Canon may have made Pachelbel the most frequently heard classical composer in the world, this sparkling program shows he was not just a "one hit wonder." It is built around suites for two violins and continuo from a collection called the Musikalische Ergötzung. The title means "musical delight," and indeed one cannot but be ravished by the extraordinary sonic hedonism displayed in these works. A few songs written for special occasions add further spice to this delightful recording featuring tenor Hans-Jörg Mammel and the ensemble Gli Incogniti led by Amandine Beyer.
"…some of the most important Baroque rediscoveries of recent years … [an] essential recording…" ~BBC MusicMag
The Missa Salisburgensis for 53 parts in eight separate choirs, often called "the Mahler 8th of the baroque," is by far the most grandiose work composed before the 18th century. Written (by an unnamed composer generally presumed to be Biber) for the 1,100th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Salzburg, it has extravagant scoring reflecting that city's enormous self-regard. This Mass is rarely performed or recorded, and probably not just because of logistical and financial constraints–the work can often seem tedious and overblown. The large number of parts and the reverberant acoustic of Salzburg Cathedral allowed for very little harmonic variety (virtually the entire Mass is in C major) or virtuoso fireworks; the music can make its effects only through variety of instrumental color and sheer massive sound. It is very much to the credit of Paul McCreesh, Reinhard Goebel, and their musicians that the Missa Salisburgensis sounds so engaging here: the grandeur is leavened with plenty of rhythmic snap, and some lighter moments sound tender and almost delicate. Unusually for McCreesh, there are no chants, prayers, or other trappings of a liturgical reconstruction; there are, however, three sumptuous instrumental sonatas and a motet included with the Mass. This may not be the most profound music of the 17th century, but it is surely among the most jubilant.
Having all of these works collected together is a real treasure. It is one of the most beautiful collections I've heard. 5 cd's of all of Bach's chamber music, exquisitely performed by the outstanding soloists of Musica Antiqua Koln. Reinhard Goebel's performance of the violin works is simply perfect. As I've said before, Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord have been in the shadows for too long, they deserve to be heard and this performance proves it. They are a delightful partnership between violin and harpsichord. The tempos are fairly brisk but the performance is so clearly articulated that the result is energetic and very rewarding.