Handel: Concerti grossi

Handel: Concerti grossi Vol 2. Opus 6: 7-12
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Bernhard Forck
Pentatone PTC 5186 738. 80’29

Although the concept and the inspiration for Handel’s Op.6 Concerti grossi date back to his early years in Italy and Corelli’s concerto da chiesa and concerto da camera, they were put together and published much later in his career. Ten of the 12 concertos were composed for performance during oratorios and odes during the 1739–1740 season. These included the two that were performed on St Cecilia’s Day, during Alexander’s Feast and the Ode for St Cecilia’s Day. Others followed in December and February 14 including two during L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato with two more in March and April in revivals of Saul, Israel in Egypt and L’Allegro. Concertos 9 and 11 borrowed from some of Handel’s earlier organ concertos (No.9 borrowing from the Cuckoo and the Nightingale organ concerto) that had fulfilled the same function as interval entertainment or musical add ons to oratorio performances. Continue reading

Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik 2017

Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik
Innsbruck, 21-23 August 2017

The Innsbruck Festival of Early Music runs annually for about three weeks during August. It was founded in 1976 and since the start has focussed on Baroque opera, in recent years usually performing three each season. Between 1991 and 2009 René Jacobs was the director of the opera programme and, from 1997, the entire festival. Since 2010 the festival has been directed by Alessandro De Marchi, who instigated the International Singing Competition for Baroque Opera Pietro Antonio Cesti, named after Antonio Cesti, a 17th-century Italian singer and composer who served at the Innsbruck court of Archduke Ferdinand Charles of Austria.  The focus this year was on the music of Monteverdi, and included a staged performance of Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend for three days, so my review is necessarily limited in scope.  Continue reading