Lacrime Amare: Bianca Maria Meda motets

Lacrime Amare
Bianca Maria Meda motets (1691)
Cappella Artemisia, Candace Smith
Brilliant Classics 95736. 79’04

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Jesu mi clementissime, Vibrate, Anime belle, O quante contra me, In foco ardentissime,
O lacrime amare, Volo vivere, No non tentate, Spirate vos zeffiri

This is potentially an important recording from Cappella Artemisia, an all-female choir and orchestra, founded in 1991 by Candace Smith, a Californian long resident in Italy. Little is known of Bianca Maria Meda. She was born around 1665 and died around 1700 and was a Benedictine nun in San Martino del Leano Pavia. Her only published work is the Mottetti a 1, 2, 3, e 4 voci, con violini (Bologna, 1691). Judging by the quality of the nine examples on this recording, she was a very accomplished composer. Cappella Artemisia is an all-female choir and orchestra who specialise in music composed in, and for, 16/17th-century Italian convents. It founded in 1991 by Candace Smith, a Californian long resident in Italy.  Continue reading

Bruhns: Complete Cantatas

Bruhns: Complete Cantatas
Harmonices Mundi
Brilliant Classics 95138. 75’47+63’19

Bruhns - Complete Cantatas | Brilliant Classics 95138BRNicolaus Bruhns (1665-1697) is one of the most important organist/composers of the North German 17th century Baroque: that extraordinary outpouring of music that over the whole century developed and honed a distinctive style that the likes of Handel and Bach carried forward into the 18th century. The favourite pupil of the famed Lübeck organist, Dietrich Buxtehude, Bruhns came from a family of musicians. He came from Husem, then part of Denmark, but his family had strong musical connections with Lübeck. After a time in Copenhagen, Bruhns returned to Husem as city organist, where he remained until his untimely death, aged just 31.

Only 12 vocal works and 5 organ pieces survive, but all are of an exceptionally high standard, technically and musically. All 12 of his Continue reading

Zipoli: complete keyboard music

Zipoli: complete keyboard music
Carlo Guandalino, organ, Laura Farabollini, harpsichord
Brilliant Classics. 95212. 2 CDs. 76’10 + 72’20

Zipoli - Complete Keyboard Music | Brilliant Classics 95212BRDomenico Zipoli is often seen as a rather insubstantial composer compared to his contemporaries, his surviving organ pieces being generally short and sometimes rather light pieces intended for use in the Catholic service. Although his harpsichord suites were not constrained by such circumstances, they are also attractive, rather than emotionally intense, works. This double CD, one each devoted to organ and harpsichord, present his complete keyboard works and might help to put Zipoli in a better light. They were published in two volumes of Zipoli’s 1716 Sonata d’intavolatura per organo e cimbalo while he was organist of the Jesuit church in Rome.  Shortly afterwards, he moved to Seville en route to Paraguary but, after an eventful voyage, ended up in Continue reading

Telemann: Suites and concertos for recorder

Telemann: Suites and concertos for recorder
Erik Bosgraaf, Ensemble Cordevento
Brilliant Classics 95248. 75’46

Suite in E-flat, TWV 55:Es2; Suite in A minor, TWV 55:a2;
Concerto in F, TWV 51:F1; Concerto in C, TWV 51:C1.

Telemann: Complete Suites and Concertos for RecorderTelemann taught himself to play the recorder, violin and zither before the age of 10, and continued to practice the recorder well into his teens – something very few youngsters do today. He seems to have retained a love for the recorder, judging by the number of pieces he wrote for it, including these Suites and Concertos. Incidentally, the two Suites are both titled Ouverture in their manuscripts, and are examples of Telemann’s so-called concert en ouverture style of composition, which combines elements of the traditional suite with the overture. Apart from the E-flat suite (which is intended for the flute pastorelle, which perhaps means the panpipes), all the music is from the same manuscript surviving in the Hesse Court library in Darmstadt, suggesting that they were composed for Michael Böhm, Telemann’s brother-in-law and a virtuoso woodwind player. They are all written for alto recorder.

Both types of piece reflect Telemann’s cross-cultural inspiration, taking bits of French and Italian style with a dollop of the inevitable Polish influence. Continue reading