London Sound Gallery

London Sound Gallery
Fieri Consort, Helen Charlston, The Hermes Experiment,
Ensemble Augelletti, Matilda Lloyd, The Gesualdo Six
Filmed concerts, released weekly between 25 October to 29 November

Amongst the many online events becoming available during these Covid-constrained times is a weekly Sunday afternoon series of six hour-long concerts under the banner of the London Sound Gallery. Promoted with the help of a crowdfunding campaign by The Gesualdo Six (who, as part of the deal, are collaborating with the other five performers) “to provide a focal point for new programming and collaborative performance during the current crisis for the arts”. The six concerts have an underlying theme of “reconnection, new beginnings and reconciliation” and are being released between 25 October and 29 November. The concerts were filmed in front of a small audience in Mayfair’s Grosvenor Chapel.

25 October. Fieri Consort Another Dawn
1 November. Helen Charlston & Toby Carr Abbandonata
8 November. The Hermes Experiment I am happy living simply
15 November. Ensemble Augelletti New Beginnings
22 November. Matilda Lloyd and Martin Cousin Notes of yearning
29 November. The Gesualdo Six Heavenly Spheres

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OAE Player: Seeing Double

Seeing Double’
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Jonathan Cohen
Kati Debretzeni, Nicola Benedetti, Rudolfo Richter
Katharina Spreckelsen, Sarah Humphrys
OAE Player. 19 November 2020

Avision Concerto Grosso no.5 in D minor
Vivaldi Concerto in D for two violins RV 513
Vivaldi Concerto in D for two violins RV 514
Vivaldi Concerto in A minor for two oboes RV 536
Bach Concerto in D minor for two violins BWV 1043
Purcell Rondeau from Abdelazer

The second of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s premieres on their digital platform OAE Player was a concert of Vivaldi and Bach double concertos recorded at the Snape Maltings in front of a socially-distanced audience. Many people will have already heard or seen an expanded version of the programme as one of the live concerts of the much reduced 2020 BBC Proms season. The principal violin soloist for both concerts should have been Alina Ibragimova, but the death of her father (the distinguished double bass player Rinat Ibragimov) the day before the Prom resulted in Nicola Benedetti stepping in for the Proms and this concert, which seems to have been recorded the following day in the far more suitable acousics of the Snape Maltings.

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Die Schöpfung

Haydn: Die Schöpfung
 Il Giardino Armonico, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Giovanni Antonini
Outhere/Alpha 567
. 2CDs. 72’52 +27’26

The Joseph Haydn Foundation’s Haydn 2032 project plans to produce and finance the recording of all 107 of Haydn’s symphonies in the lead-up to the 300th anniversary of Haydn’s birth. These recordings are usually with Il Giardino Armonico and the Basel Chamber Orchestra under Giovanni Antonini, but this recording of The Creation, which sidesteps the symphony series, pairs the period instruments of Il Giardino Armonico with the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks. Although I have some reservations, it is a powerful and revealing account of Hadyn’s extraordinary work, a homage to the Handel oratorios that he experienced in London.

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OAE Player: Apollo e Dafne

Apollo e Dafne
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Roderick Williams
Rowan Pierce, Katharina Spreckelsen
OAE Player. 9 November 2020

Telemann Der am Ölberg zagende Jesus TWV 1: 364
JS Bach Cantata, Ich habe Genug BWV 82
Handel Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No. 2/1
Handel Apollo e Dafne HWV 122

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) has responded to the Covid crisis by opening a new digital platform, OAE Player. For this Premiere Night concert, they were billed as returning to their resident home at the Southbank Centre for the first time since the first lockdown although, as you will read, that turned out to be not quite the reality. Each of the filmed concerts (there are currently twenty available on the OAE Player) are available to watch individually for a great deal less than a concert ticket (and without the costs of travel) or there is an option of accessing all the concerts with an annual pass.

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Mozart à Portuguesa

Mozart à Portuguesa
Mozart’s Requiem
(Eborense version)
Americantiga Ensemble, Ricardo Bernardes
São Roque, Lisbon. 6 November 2020 & online

Davide Perez (1711-78) Subvenite sancti dei; Trio in G minor
José Joaquim dos Santos (1747-1801)  Lamentação de Quinta-Feira Santa
Frei Joan de Santa Cruz (1542-1591) Noche oscura
Mozart Requiem (Eborense version)

An interesting live-streamed concert from Portugal caught my eye and ear, with the help of a friend who managed to get there and back to perform just before the UK lockdown. It included a performance of Mozart’s Requiem in an early 19th-century arrangement by composers of Évora Cathedral, alongside pieces by composers of the Lisbon Court such as David Perez and José Joaquim dos Santos. The manuscript of the arrangement is in the archives in Évora, hence the name of the “Eborense version”. The concert was performed live by the Americantiga Ensemble during the 22nd Music Season in São Roque in the São Roque Church, Lisbon, and is available to view via the link below.

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Early Music Young Ensemble Competition

Early Music Young Ensemble Competition
MokkaBarock, Ensemble Pro Victoria, Ensemble Hesperi
LIFEM: DIGITAL
London International Festival of Early Music
8 November 2020

The London International Festival of Early Music series of events continued, under the banner of LIFEM: DIGITAL, with their Early Music Young Ensemble Competition, the final of which usually occurs every two years during their live festival. This year the competition took place online, with the three finalists’ recitals streamed on the festival’s website on Sunday, 8th November. After a preliminary round of the competition based on video entries, the three finalists’ recitals were recorded under ‘live’ conditions. Two of the groups were UK based, the other being from Salzburg.

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LIFEM DIGITAL: Fretwork

Fretwork
London International Festival of Early Music
5 November 2020

Another festival to turn to an online rather than a live presence is the annual London International Festival of Early Music with a series of nightly concerts under the banner of LIFEM: DIGITAL, recorded in their usual venues in and around Blackheath is south-east London. The first concert was given by the viol consort Fretwork, who celebrated the 30th anniversary in 2016. The concert ended with a world premiere of The Tudor Pull by John Paul Jones who many will know as the most modest member of the legendary multi-instrumentalist of the 1970/802 rock group Led Zeppelin.

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Hammerschmidt: Ach Jesus stirbt

Ach Jesus stirbt
Andreas Hammerschmidt
Vox Luminis, Clematis
, Lionel Meunier
Outhere/Ricercar, RIC418. 70’27

The ever-excellent Vox Luminis strike again with this magnificent recording of vocal works by the little-known Bohemian organist-composer Andreas Hammerschmidt (1612-1675). As a result of the Thirty Years War, his (Protestant) family moved to the important city of Freiberg in Saxony when he was about 15, where he became organist at the Petrikirche. In 1639 he moved to Zittau where he stayed until his death as organist of the Johanneskirche. Despite the ravages of the war, he became famed as an organist and a composer of music in the concertato tradition of Heinrich Schütz.

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Ensemble Augelletti: Arcardian Wilderness

Arcardian Wilderness
Ensemble Augelletti
Brighton Early Music Festival
24 October 2020

Arcadian Wilderness

One of the many festivals going online is the Brighton Early Music Festival with ten events broadcast on YouTube and Facebook between 23 October to 1 November 2020. They are then available for seven days afterwards. It is possible to view for free within that period, but viewers are encouraged to buy online tickets and donate. One particular concert that caught my eye, and ear, was from the young group Ensemble Augelletti. The Facebook link to the concert is here.

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Bach: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier II

Bach: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Volume 2
Steven Devine, harpsichord
Resonus Classics RES10261. 2 CDs. 73’03+75’42

Following his Volume 1 of Das Wohltemperierte Klavier (The Well-Tempered Clavier reviewed here), Steven Devine returns with a very welcome recording of Bach’s second book of Preludes & Fugues, published around 20 years after the first book. Unlike the Book 1 Preludes and Fugues (BWV 846-869) which survive in Bach’s autograph, Book 2 (BWV 870-893) has two principal sources with contribtions by Bach’s family, but only one withs any evidence of Bach’s hand.

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Northern Star Festival: A Glimpse of Earthly Delights

A Glimpse of Earthly Delights
Northern Star Festival 2020 Online
The Swedish Church in London. 18 October 2020

When one coffee-loving soul meets another . . .
A love story riding on the river of ground bass surrounded by all delights on earth and everything wonderful in life.

With little chance of a live audience, many musicians are taking to online concerts. One such is this delightful video from the Northern Star Festival, with a performance of “music and poetry about food, drink, love and all that’s wonderful in life“.

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Handel: Ode for St Cecilia’s Day

Handel: Ode for St Cecilia’s Day
Bach Choir of Bethlehem

Bach Festival Orchestra, Greg Funfgeld
Analekta AN 2 9541

Cover of Handel Ode to St Cecilia CD

The first thing to understand is that this is not the Bach Choir of Bethlehem – or at least, not of that Bethlehem. This Bethlehem is in Pennsylvania – and the Bach Choir is a 120-year-old amateur choir. It is the oldest Bach choir in America and gave the first performances in the USA of Bach’s B minor Mass and the Christmas Oratorio. This recording reflects their anniversary.

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Master Musicians: Bach

Bach
David Schulenberg
Oxford University Press
: Master Musicians series
Hardback, 448 pages, 235x156x23mm, ISBN13: 9780190936303

Bach must be one of the most written about of all composers, so the addition of another outline of his life and music needs to have something extra to offer. Bach scholarship continues to discover new works and new evidence and ideas about his life and music. Since Malcolm Boyd’s original 1983 Master Musicians Bach volume and its three revisions, understanding of Bach and his music’s historical and cultural context has shifted substantially, reflecting new biographical information and insights. So David Schulenberg’s contribution to the Master Musicians series is very welcome.

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Animam gementem cano

Animam gementem cano
Tuma – Stabat Mater; Biber – Requiem
Pluto-Ensemble, Hathor Consort
Marnix De Cat, Romina Lischka
Ramee RAM1914. 61’34

Animam gementem cano: Tuma - Stabat Mater; Biber - Requiem | Ramee RAM1914

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644-1704) Requiem in F minor
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (c1620-1680) Sonata IX in G
Andreas Christophorus Clamer (1633-1701) Partita I in E minor
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber Sonata VIII à 5 in G
František Ignác Antonín Tůma (1704-1774) Stabat mater in G minor

The Pluto-Ensemble was founded by Marnix De Cat to “perform music based on Truth of the human being, with a message of beauty and joy”. It takes its name from the planet Pluto, “the third mistery-planet of the Aquarius-era.  After Uranus and Neptunus, influencing the heart and the mind, Pluto is the re-creator of man as a higher being”. Their companions for this recording of music from Hapsburg Vienna and Salzburg is the Hathor Consort (directed by Romina Lischka) takes its name from the Egyptian mother goddess Hathor.

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Anna Stegmann: Fantasy & Design

Fantasy & Design
A digital video recital for one recorder player alone in three episodes
Anna Stegmann
July, August, September 2020

Shorn of live performance opportunities, many musicians are taking to the internet to display their wares. One such in the German-born but Amsterdam-based recorder player Anna Stegmann, a regular teacher at in the UK at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music. She released the three episodes of Series One, Fantasy and Design, during July, August and September 2020. It is the first of a continuing programme of short (15/20′) recitals, with Series Two following monthly from October to December. The videos can be previewed and seen in full for “a small financial contribution” with the option to add donation after each episode.

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Cafe Zimmermann: Lamento

Lamento
Cafe Zimmermann, Damien Guillon
Outhere/Alpha 626. 69’06

Literary history is full of laments, from the very earliest writings. They occur in all religions and have been the foundation of much musical expression in all parts of the world. So an entire CD devoted to such Lamento is not such an unusual approach to building a satisfying musical programme. And this recording from the French ensemble Café Zimmermann fulfils the brief excellently with music from the 17th-century German speaking realms.

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The Queen’s Six: Journeys to the New World

Journeys to the New World
Hispanic Sacred Music from the 16th & 17th centuries
The Queen’s Six

Signum Classics SIGCD626. 66’23

The Queen’s Six are all based at Windsor Castle where they are Lay Clerks at St George’s Chapel. They promote themselves as providing a “unique style of entertainment” with a repertoire that “extends far beyond the reach of the choir stalls: from austere early chant, florid Renaissance polyphony, lewd madrigals and haunting folk songs, to upbeat Jazz and Pop arrangements”. Perhaps fortunately, on this recording they remain firmly in the choir stalls for some Renaissance New World polyphony dating from the mid-16th century to c1700.

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Lobo: Masses

Duarte Lobo: Masses, Responsories & Motets
Cupertinos, Lius Toscano
Hyperion CDA68306. 70’18

Duarte Lobo (c1565-1646) was one of the most prominent composers of the Portuguese Golden Age, gaining an international reputation during his lifetime. He is not to be confused with the Spanish Alonso Lobo (1555-1617). Early musical studies at Évora Cathedral led to posts as maestro di cappella at Évora Cathedrak, the Hospital Real de Todos-os-Santos, Lisbon, and at Lisbon Cathedral where he remained for nearly 50 years. This very welcome recording includes many premiere recordings of this remarkable composer in outstanding performances by Cupertinos, under Lius Toscano.

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Georg Friedrich Händel: Neun Deutsche Arien

Georg Friedrich Händel: Neun Deutsche Arien
Penelope Appleyard, Florisma
Convivium Records CR043. 52’00

Handel’s Neun Deutsche Arien (Nine German Arias) were composed around 1725, some sixteen years after his arrival in London. In sharp contrast to his compositions at the time (which included the operas Tamerlano, Rodelinda, and Alessandro), these nine short arias, all but one in da capo form, are intimate small-scale pieces for a solo singer, a solo instrument and continuo bass. Continue reading

From the GROUND up

From the GROUND up
David Hill, Peterborough Cathedral organ
Regent REGCD539
. 67’48

From The Ground Up

There is more to this recording than a ‘mere’ display of 20th-century British organ music, most based on a ground bass, usually in its particular incarnation as a Passacaglia, played on a grand English cathedral organ by one of England’s most distinguished organists. But that alone is enough to recommend the recording. It encompasses a wide range of music styles, generally influenced by German organ composers, dating from 1910 to the present day, together with a lovely little contrasting contribution from Orlando Gibbons, from the early 17th-century. Two major gems of the repertoire and a substantial new piece are balanced by a sequence of short pieces.

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Lachrimæ Lyræ

Lachrimæ Lyræ: Tears of Exile
Sokratis Sinopoulos, Lacheron, François Joubert-Caillet
Outhere/Fuga Libera, FUG 753. 65’38

If you thought the sound of a consort of viols was etherial, plaintive and evocative, wait till you hear this exotic combination of a viol consort combined with a Greek lyra. Taking John Dowland’s 1604 Lachrimæ or Seaven Teares as its point of departure, the recording aims to “paint a transverse and stateless picture of melancholy, set against the joyful hope of a shining future that appears in these improvisations and timeless Anglo-Byzantine dances”. Continue reading

Henry Aldrich: Sacred Choral Music

Henry Aldrich: Sacred Choral Music
Cathedral Singers of Christ Church, Oxford
James Morley Potter, David Bannister, The Restoration Consort
Convivium Records CR052. 80′

 You would be forgiven if, like me, you had never heard of Henry Aldrich (1648-1710). He was something of a polymath, combing roles as Dean of Christ Church, Oxford and later Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University with interests in logic, architecture and music, composing works for the Christ Church Chapel (which doubles as Oxford’s Cathedral). He is probably best known today, if at all, for his 1750 book on logic Artis Logicæ Compendium, but he also designed the church of All Saints, Oxford (now the library of Lincoln College) and the Peckwater Quadrangle in Christ Church. This timely recording brings some of his music to well deserved public attention. Continue reading

St John’s Smith Square – Welcome Back!

St John’s Smith Square – Welcome Back!
The return of public concerts to a socially distanced audience.

Following a successful pilot concert with a live audience in July, St John’s Smith Square are delighted to be able to welcome audiences back to enjoy live performances this Autumn.  Between now and the end of 2020 a programme of 63 public concerts is planned. There will also be 50 digital events as part of the St John’s DIGITAL EXCHANGE programme, some of which are hybrid versions of concerts featured in the live programme and some of which are bespoke events created specifically for our digital audience. The 35th Christmas Festival, running from 8th to 23rd December, will include 22 public concerts, whilst the inaugural digital ‘Christmas Festival London’ will feature content from these live concerts alongside specially created material and will run from the 8th December through to 5th January 2021. The programme for November and December (including the Christmas Festival) will be announced in full on 5th October, whilst the programme for the month of October, consisting of 21 public concerts and 17 digital events is launched today (Tuesday 15th September).

The October programme includes a wide range of orchestral and chamber music along with solo recitals. The regular lunchtime concert series resumes, the Digital Exchange series (made possible by public funding from The National Lottery through Arts Council England) continues – including a new strand of ‘Song from St John’s’, the Beethoven string quartet cycle concludes with the late quartets, and there is a welcome return for the Occupy the Pianos festival.

The month commences with a lunchtime concert from soprano Siân Dicker accompanied by Krystal Tunnicliffe and organised in conjunction with the Oxford Lieder Festival. In the first of two concerts by pianist Mark Bebbington, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Jan Latham-Koenig, baritone Roderick Williams is the guest in an effervescent programme of French repertoire. The Revolutionary Drawing Room will be concluding their three-year cycle of the Beethoven string quartets, featuring the complete late quartets over two weekends and including a new work by the composer Rachel StottJames Platt (bass) and Michael Pugh (piano) continue the ‘Song from St John’s’ series, which will also feature on exclusive online performance of Messiaen’s ‘Harawi’ by soprano Lotte Betts-Dean and SJSS Young Artist, Joseph Havlat (piano). Following a recording residency in September, The English Concert, directed by Kristian Bezuidenhout give a star-studded programme of Purcell Odes. Historically informed performance continues as a focus in a recital by horn player Anneke Scott with the Consone Quartet.

Having launched the Digital Exchange programme back in July with our pilot concert featuring a live audience, organised in conjunction with the DCMS, The Gesualdo Six (previous SJSS Young Artists) give two performances with the trumpeter Matilda Lloyd including one where audiences are invited to simply ‘pay what they can afford’. The Young Musician’s Symphony Orchestra make a welcome return with a programme of Wagner and Beethoven. The wonderful Klais organ at St John’s is featured in a recital by the sub-organist of Westminster Abbey, Peter Holder whilst St John’s’ status as a still consecrated church is marked with a Sung Eucharist to mark the feast day of the patron saint of Westminster, St Edward the Confessor. Virtuoso pianist Rolf Hind with the incredible vocal talent of Loré Lixenberg, along with digital artist Sasha Balmazi-Owen launch the next instalment in our contemporary festival, Occupy the Pianos, featuring the world premiere of an SJSS commission from composer Elaine Mitchener. A previous SJSS commission is featured in The Minerva Piano Trio’s (SJSS Young Artists 2016/17) performance of David Knott’s arrangement of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe, whilst current SJSS Young Artists, Improviso offer a programme based around the ever popular ‘Folia’. Prior to this concert Improviso will be leading an online workshop, introducing the art of improvisation and inviting musicians to join them online in a digital improvisation based on ‘La Folia’. Another of SJSS’s current young artists, the pianist Joseph Havlat, will give a recital of Czech piano music by Dvořák and his son-in-law, Suk whilst the month comes to a close with two concerts by the Chineke! Chamber Ensemble, presenting music by Vaughan-Williams and Schubert alongside the Four American Spirituals of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Richard Heason, Director of St John’s Smith Square said: “Since we closed our doors at the end of the concert on 16th March we have been focussing our energy and efforts on finding a route back towards live music taking place in St John’s Smith Square once again. We are delighted that we are able now to safely welcome audiences back, albeit in a measured and controlled way, and that we can share the joy of live music. We are immensely grateful to all those who have supported us so generously throughout the period of lockdown including individuals who made donations or gifted the value of tickets they were holding for events no longer able to happen, and Arts Council England who enabled the launch of our Digital Exchange programme with a grant from the Emergency Response Fund (crucial support, both financially and as a boost to our confidence at a very dark time). We also thank all the artists who have collaborated with such open generosity over recent weeks and months and who have committed themselves so fully to these re-opening plans. We look forward, now, to welcoming back our audiences, for whom we exist, whilst continuing to support those unable to join us yet through our Digital Exchange programme.”

The health and safety of our audience, artists and staff is of paramount importance and we have worked extensively to ensure St John’s Smith Square is a ‘Covid Secure’ venue for all those attending events. In line with the latest Government guidance, we have carried out a thorough risk assessment and made changes to the way we operate.  Our aim is to minimise exposure to risk as far as possible so that everyone can focus on enjoying the music. 

Our new safety measures include:

  • Reduced audience numbers and socially-distanced seating (our maximum capacity is less than 20% of our pre-pandemic capacity)
  • Increased and enhanced cleaning between and during events, including regular anti-viral and anti-bacterial fogging
  • A one-way system and queue management
  • All concerts are without an interval
  • Mandatory temperature checks on entry to the building
  • Automated non-contact hand sanitiser stations
  • Asking all visitors to wear face-coverings (unless exempt)
  • Providing PPE to our staff
  • Audience entry and exit via portico doors (with lift access as usual for patrons with limited mobility)
  • Regular ventilation of the hall
  • Digital or ‘print at home’ ticketing
  • Entry for pre-booked tickets only

St John’s Smith Square will continue to review the situation and adapt these measures where necessary to respond to any changes in Government guidance. Full information of future concerts, along with FAQs can be found on the St John’s website.

What’s next Vivaldi?

What’s next Vivaldi?
Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin),
Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini
Outhere/Alpha ALPHA624. 70’56

If you manage to get past the unremitting frenzy of the opening Vivaldi La Tempesta di Mare Concerto there is a chance that you might be able to appreciate the rest of this extraordinary recording. Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja has been described as an “irresistible force of nature: passionate, challenging and totally original in her approach”, in the citation for her 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society award as Instrumentalist of the year). When combined with the energy of Il Giardino Armonico the result is potent.

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Bachs Mentoren

Bachs Mentoren (Bach’s Mentors)
Peter Waldner

Tastenfreuden 4. 75’16

This recording was self-pubished by Peter Waldner in 2012 as part of his Tastenfreuden series but has only just been sent to me for review. It includes music by the North German composers Buxtehude, Reincken and Bõhm, noted as Bach’s “mentors”, played on harpsichord, octave spinet and muselar. The word “mentor” might a little wide of the mark, as there is no evidence any of these three musicians actually taught the young Bach, although he was certainly strongly influenced by them in his early years.

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Duo1702+ – Coffee Edition

Duo1702+Coffee Edition
Louise Hjorth Hansen, recorder Katrine I. Kristiansen, organ
Gateway DUO170201. 58’56

Baroque music in the name of coffee – induced by Covid-19” is the sub-text of this recording from Duo1702 and friends. Made in response to the Covid crisis, the two Danish members of Duo1702, Louise Hjorth Hansen, recorder, and Katrine Kristiansen, organ, are joined by five of their musical friends to perform music by Bach, Finger, Telemann, Morten Ræhs, Purcell, and Vivaldi. Their intention is to recreate the atmosphere of the Zimmermann Kaffeehaus in Leipzig where Bach and his sons made music to the accompanyment of coffee drinking.

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Laus Polyphoniae: Polyphony connects

Laus Polyphoniae: Polyphony connects
21-30 August 2020

In normal circumstances I would be on my way to Antwerp for their annual Laus Polyphoniae festival, but current events have led to it moving on-line for a virtual festival. Under the title of Polyphony Connects, their programme looks back on past editions of Laus Polyphoniae as well as looking to the future. Combining music from different centuries in archive recordings and live events, it also includes documentaries, introductions, a book presentation, an international summer school, and an educational music holiday.

Registration on-line via this website – https://amuz.be/registratie-polyphony-connects/ – will allow you to download a programme book with full details of all the events. This is sent free to inhabitants of Flanders who register.

Further information can be found at –
https://amuz.be/activity/polyphony-connects/

Purcell: Royal Welcome Songs Vol II

Purcell: Royal Welcome Songs for King Charles II. Vol II
The Sixteen, Harry Christopers
Coro COR16173.
72’27

Purcell: Royal Welcome Songs for King Charles II, Volume II. Album by The Sixteen

The Sixteen continue their series of music written by Purcell for royal occasions with this 2019 recording. Designed to promote King Charles II as a strong and stable (a familiar phrase) and divinely appointed monarch, the music is by turn delicate and grand, celebrating the nobility of the King and his apparent political triumphs. The highlight is the 1683 Welcome to all the pleasures notably the jubilant concluding chorus in praise of St Cecilia: In a consort of voices. Continue reading

CPE Bach: Voyage sentimental

CPE Bach: Voyage Sentimental
A Sentimental Journey / Empfindsame Reise

Mathieu Dupouy (fortepiano)
Label-Hérisson, LH17. 66’32

The contrast between the music of JS and CPE Bach continues to puzzle many music lovers. Born 29 years apart, CPE Bach’s compositional style was well into the early classical era well before the death of his father, whose music had for some time been considered rather out of date. This 2018 recording focusses on the music of the last few years of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s life. It shows his music at its most developed with more than a hint of the forthcoming Romantic era. His use of the empfindsamer Stil (sensitive style) is very evident in the choice of music in this programme. Continue reading

Stay, ye angels. JS Bach Cantatas

Stay, ye angels. J S Bach Cantatas
Gaechinger Cantorey, Hans-Christoph Rademann
David Franke (1746 Hildebrandt organ, Naumburg)
Accentus Music ACC30466. 73’47

Bach,J.S. / Rademann  - Stay Ye Angels (CD) - image 1 of 1

The crowning glory of this recording is the use of one of the finest Baroque (and Bach) organs in the world – the 1746 Zacharias Hildebrandt organ in the Stadtkirche Sankt Wenzel in Naumburg, Saxony- Anhalt, Germany. It was Hildebrandt’s finest and most substantial organ and involved advice from Bach himself. They had met in 1723 when Bach opened Hildebrandt’s first organ in the delightful little village church of Störmthal, just south of Leipzig. Bach and the organ builder Gottfried Silbermann (who had earlier fallen out with Hildebrandt) carried out the final examination of the instrument. It was restored back to its 1746 state in the year 2000. Continue reading