"…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
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…
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.
Johann Pachelbel (baptised September 1, 1653 – buried March 9, 1706) was a German Baroque composer, organist and teacher, who brought the south German organ tradition to its peak. He composed a large body of sacred and secular music, and his contributions to the development of the chorale prelude and fugue have earned him a place among the most important composers of the middle Baroque era.
Johann Pachelbel is unfairly viewed as a one-work composer, that work being the popular Canon in D major, for three violins and continuo. He was an important figure from the Baroque period who is now seen as central in the development of both keyboard music and Protestant church music. Some have summarized his primary contribution as the uniting of Catholic Gregorian chant elements with the Northern German organ style, a style that reflected the influence of the Protestant chorale. A Lutheran, he spent several years in Vienna where he was exposed to music by Frohberger and Frescobaldi, which influenced his work with the chorale-prelude…
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
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.