Gérard Lesne founded the Il Seminario musicale Ensemble in 1985. Since 1990, the Ensemble has been in residence at the Royaumont Foundation, where it attracts vocalists and instrumentalists who share Lesne's enthusiam for the 17th and 18th century Italian repertoire. The musicians perform on old instruments and strive to reproduce as faithfully as possible the lilt and narrative line characteristic of the baroque style as expressed in works by composers such as Monteverdi, Cavalli, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Caldara, Pergolesi, and the others. The size of the ensemble is variable depending on the repertoire. Based on a rich and varied continuo section (theorbo, cello, basson, double bass, organ and harpsichord) supporting one or more soloists, it can be expanded with the addition of a string quartet to make a small chamber orchestra suitable for performing chamber operas. Responsibility for the Ensemble's musical direction is shared by the instrumentalists and vocalists.
The last of his orchestral compositions and one of his most enduringly popular pieces, Mendelssohn's violin concerto is as much a crowd-pleaser now as it was when premiered by Ferdinand David and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in 1845. Its unassuming focus on melody and dynamic interaction between soloist and orchestra – rather than merely on technical feats and virtuosic showmanship – ensures its place at the heart of the violin concerto repertoire.
If you've only listened to Heifetz's crude interpretation of Sibelius's tempestuous and capricious concerto in the past, you might be incredulous after listening to this CD. "What? This is the Sibelius Concerto? It's a far cry from the one in my memory." After listening to it twice, however, tears should prick your eyes–the result of two gusts of contrasting emotions in one stroke: anguish over all the beauty, passion and subtlety you've missed in the past from this fabulous concerto, and jubilation at your new discovery of this supreme recording and the privilege to relish every bar of the music.
The young Dutch violinist Noa Wildschut has been described as “a miracle of musicality”, while Anne-Sophie Mutter has singled her out as “undoubtedly one of the musical hopes of her generation”. For her debut as a Warner Classics recording artist, Noa has chosen a programme of Mozart that combines concertante and chamber works. As she says: “I’m showing two sides of Mozart – and also two sides of myself.” Noa Wildschut, the young Dutch violinist, turned 16 in March 2017, but was just 15 when she signed an exclusive agreement with Warner Classics and recorded her debut album for the label.