After he had just finished the recording of his next CD - Bach's »French Suites«, Volume II, Lorenzo Ghielmi had an intense week at the International Organ Festival Haarlem. Not only did he give a course from July 16 to 21 for young professional organists, but on 18 July also a public masterclass on Italian repertoire.
In addition there was a lecture on the same day and finally on July 19th a concert with music by Buxtehude, Bach and Frescobaldi.
Listen to him here with a concert recording, a part from the trio sonata BWV 527:
And click here if you are interested in the latest research by Lorenzo Ghielmi: Antonio Caldara's Missa in B minor, which he will premiere in 2020 together with his ensemble La Divina Armonia and the Tölzer Knabenchor!
Per-Sonat and the Cistercian nuns
»Invisibile - The Music of the Hidden«, was the title of the programme that Sabine Lutzenberger and her ensemble Per-Sonat presented for the first time on 21 July in the church of the Cistercian Abbey of Sankt Marienthal near Ostritz.
The title refers to the fact that the Cistercian nuns, especially in earlier periods after their entry into the Order, have barely left the strict enclosure of their monastery, and thus seemed almost invisible - even during the choral prayers, where they could only be heard as voices behind the jube.
In this concert by Per-Sonat, which took place within the framework of the festival Lausitzer Musiksommer (Lusatian Music Summer), there were songs that the musicians had found in various manuscripts: one from Sankt Marienthal itself, then the Wonnetaler Graduale and also from the famous Codex Las Huelgas, in which the Music of the Spanish Cistercian nuns of the Monastery of Santa Maria Real de las Huelgas at Burgos is noted. The special thing about the programme: The Marienthal manuscript was only recently discovered and these songs sounded for the first time in modern times - and then in the oldest Cistercian abbey in Germany, which was consistently used by a religious order!
A beautiful evening, a fascinating programme - in which the listeners not only experienced the meditative-contemplative side of the so special music of the Cistercian nuns, but also the ecstatic-mystical.
The Frescobaldi CD is out!
Girolamo Frescobaldi's motet book from 1627 is a collection of beautiful compositions for two to five vocal parts, which was almost forgotten for centuries. The reason for this may have been that one of the five vocal books that originally made up the collection was missing, so there was no alto voice. Only recently was it possible to supplement this lost vocal book and thus restore this fascinating collection of sacred works by the great Roman composer and early baroque organist - and Lorenzo Ghielmirecorded it on CD with his ensemble La Divina Armonia.
This CD, in addition to the motets also various organ works Frescobaldis, played on a historic organ from 1625 in the Italian Peglio (Como), is now finally released by the Flemish Early Music label Passacaille. At the moment, it can only be obtained directly from Passacaille - from September on it will also be available in every CD shop.
Listen to a foretaste of this wonderful music that has been forgotten for so long: Girolamo Frescobaldi's motet Jesu, Rex admirabilis:
A delightful programme and the best company: once again, soprano Gerlinde Sämann was a guest in the Leipzig Thomaskirche, where she opened the Bachfest Leipzig on 8 June under the direction of Thomaskantor Gotthold Schwarz with the Thomanerchor and the Gewandhaus Orchestra.
The programme included - partly polyphonic - works by Johann Hermann Schein, Bach, and Mendelssohn: a splendid concert for a beautiful occasion.
The concert was broadcast live by the radio station mdr Kultur.
Here you can listen to it on their website.
Les Voix humaines: Vivaldi-Tour
All four seasons in summer: viol consort Les Voix humaines makes it possible!
From June 28 to July 3, the four viol players Susie Napper, Margaret Little, Mélisande Corriveau and Felix Deak tour Canada, playing concerts in Halifax, Tatamagouche, Wolfville, Mahone Bay, and finally Montréal.
The programme includes not only some works by Henry Purcell, George Gershwin (Summertime), Joseph Kosma and Gilles Vigneault, but also Antonio Vivaldi's Le quattro stagioni - in the musicians' own arrangements for four viols. Yes, that works with viols!
Listen here, how perfectly well:
Here you can see a piece from the programme as a video on our YouTube Channel.
Baptiste Romain: New CD
In seculum Viellatoris, this is the name of the new CD by Baptiste Romain, in which he and his ensemble Le Miroir de Musique trace the history of the fiddle from the 13th to the 15th century. So one finds here troubadour songs as well as for example one of the earliest instrumental pieces that were ever noted, from the 14th century, but also polyphonic works of the 13th to 15th centuries in different combinations of singers and instrumentalists.
Baptiste Romain recorded this CD on the occasion of his appointment to the Chair of Medieval and Early Modern String Instruments at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis - and has come up with an extremely charming overview of the development of the forerunners of the modern violin in its various forms and applications. You can hear him on this CD with fiddle, rubeba or crwth (and also on the bagpipe!), as a soloist as well as together with four singers, harp, two fiddles, percussion and lute, and thus experience an extremely varied portrait of the early string instruments. And also the expression of the music is rather varied: much of it emanates peace and devotion, but there are also wild dances, heartfelt love songs, yearning sighs.
Here you can enjoy a foretaste of this wonderful recording with the anonymous J'aime la biauté:
And here's a snippet of this sounding music history lesson as a video on our YouTube channel.
Breathtaking in Regensburg
She just came from a Bach cantata concert at the Vienna Konzerthaus with Luca Pianca and his Ensemble Claudiana - and then went almost directly to the Bach Cantata Ring with Gardiner's Monteverdi Choir, with whom she will be on tour throughout the month of June. But in between, Hana Blažíková just had time for Breathtaking!
This programme, in which Hana explores the acoustical and atmospheric similarities between soprano voice and cornetto together with cornetto player Bruce Dickey was performed this time on 19 May at the Tage Alte Musik Regensburg, in the acoustically very appropriate Schottenkirche St. Jakob.
The response of the audience: enthusiastic, as usual!!
And by the way: This extremely fascinating programme will be continued in a second edition. More soon on this website ...
Listen to Tarquinio Merula's Nigra sum, a piece from Breathtaking:
Ars Antiqua Austria: news from the classics
For more than three decades already, violinist Gunar Letzbor is well known for his good nose for rediscovering long-forgotten works of the Austrian music heritage in particular - and on Mother's Day weekend at Sankt Florian Abbey and in the Emperor's Hall of Schloss Eckartsau, one could once again prove this olfactory giftedness Experience: New Altes von Franz Josef Aumann, Ferdinand Kauer and Georg Gugeneder from the Stiftsbibliothek St. Florian sounded in these concerts, in which Letzbor directed the St. Florian Boys Choir with their soloists and his own, here five-member ensemble Ars Antiqua Austria .
In addition to wonderful chamber music of early classical and classical character (some of Aumann's works were even attributed to W.A. Mozart in the 19th century, the Augustinian choirmaster was superbly composed!), The visitors of these concerts were fascinated and enthusiastic, especially by some arias from Gugeneder's operetta Die Komödienprobe. This spiritual gentleman was a member of the Linz cathedral chapter and as such also involved in the appointment of Anton Bruckner to the local cathedral organist and shows in his operetta, which may have originated around 1840, not only a striking compositional skill, but also a strong sense of humor and audience appeal - although Ars Antiqua Austria naturally did not perform the arias from the piece in full orchestral composition, but rather in a Kurorchester version of the Viennese Classic!
We hope to hear more from this Komödienprobe soon! For a first impression, you can already listen to an aria with tenor Markus Miesenberger:
Tobie Miller and the Baroque hurdy-gurdy
Anyway there are very few musicians around the world who are seriously and from the perspective of historical performance practice (not folk music) concerned with the hurdy-gurdy - and Tobie Miller is certainly one of the best and best known of them.
In addition to her performances as a soloist with various orchestras and ensembles, and the concerts with her own Ensemble Danguy, this musician is also repeatedly invited as a lecturer for courses and master classes for her instrument. Thus again she gave lessons for students and young musicians on the hurdy-gurdy from 28 April to 1 May at the Académie des Musiciens de Saint-Julien in Grenier de la Mothe in Normandy, together with her colleague François Lazarevitch, who taught Musette.
Here you can hear Tobie play the Prelude from Bach's Partita Nr. 3 in E-Dur for violin, arranged by Tobie herself for the hurdy-gurdy, in a live recording:
And in case you like it, you might want to note: her new solo CD will soon be released on the label Ricercar, presenting several of the Bach violin and cello suites in her own arrangements for the hurdy-gurdy.
Barbora Kabatkova and Sabine Lutzenberger: Stuttgart Barock
Everything was planned quite differently: Actually, the two sopranos Hana Blažíková and Barbora Kabátková were to present their medieval programme Holy war: Music of the crusaders with two gothic harps at the Stuttgart Baroque Festival on April 21st. But then Hana became ill the day before the concert - what to do? There are not so many singers who are able to learn a full-length programme with a totally unknown repertoire within one day, let alone familiarize themself with the stylistic peculiarities and notation of medieval music, or spontaneously pronounce Occitan texts correctly.
Fortunately, Sabine Lutzenberger is one of the very few who are able to do all this - and she jumped in at shortest notice!
Thus, the visitors of this night concert in the Stuttgart Hospital Church got a slightly different cast, but offered a no less attractive performance than they had expected.
With medieval recorder and bells, Sabine set a different instrumental instrumental, but the repertoire just as fair as Barboras gothic harp - and the voices of these two Middle-seasoned singers harmonized to the most magnificent.
The concert was recorded by SWR 2 and will be broadcast on this station on 23rd June, 20.03h, and on 4th July at 20.03h you'll hear some best of on the same programme.
Les Voix humaines: Lachrimae-CD
hn Dowland's cycle Lachrimae is part of every gamba consort's standard repertoire, and of course there are numerous recordings of this fantastic work. In this respect, an ensemble that adds one more to the already existing recordings should be very sure that it really has something new, something special to say about Dowland. Bei Les Voix humaines This is undoubtedly the case with Les Voix humaines: Never should one have so intensively and melancholically diminished the pavans, galliards and almonds of this English master of melancholy, but never so richly, and listened to them as floating on this most recent recording the Canadian group, which has just been released on the label Atma Classics!
Together with the lutenist Nigel North, the five gambists around Susie Napper and Margaret Little audibly dealt with the pieces in great detail - and none of the here present, quite even unusual interpretation elements is due to chance. For example, the musicians experiment with agogics and pauses, so that one occasionally feels reminded of human breathing, vary immensely richly and sensitively in the dynamics, and can still come up with many other things to make the Dowland cycle so vivid and intoxicating possible to play music. All this, of course, with impeccable technology, perfect intonation.
So listen to the Lachrimae Antiquae here and enjoy melancholy at its best: Tears that flood, manifested in sound:
Alex Potter and Wolf Matthias Friedrich: b minor mass in Budapest
It was a fascinating concert in a beautiful location: The Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra had invited countertenor Alex Potter and bass Wolf Matthias Friedrich for a performance of Bach's Mass in B minor in the magnificent Matthias Church in Budapest.
The concert on April 23 was led by Maestro Zsolt Hamar and showed how subtly and sensitively a symphony orchestra, which otherwise plays Brahms and Mahler, is able to adjust to Bach's filigree structures, his instrumental style of writing for voices. In any case, the two singers, who - as usual - intensely enthused the listeners, were just as impressed with the performance as the audience!
The concert was recorded by the Hungarian Radio.
Listen here to Alex Potter in a live recording of the aria Es ist vollbracht from Bach's Johannes Passion:
Gerlinde Sämann: Teatime at Händel
«Gerlinde Sämann makes the sounds shine», was the facit of the Basellandschaftliche Zeitung's review of a concert in which soprano Gerlinde Sämann excelled with the Bern-based Freitagsakademie on April 17 at the Baselbieter concert series in Liestal, Switzerland, to the greatest enthusiasm of the audience. And also the newspaper in Lindau, where the programme was performed on 19 April, headlined in the same sense: «Grace and luminosity», was the headline of a likewise anthemnic review.
These statements refer to the programme Händel's Teatime, in which the singer and five outstanding instrumentalists sang and played works by Handel and his contemporaries from various regions of Europe, namely Francesco Geminiani and Henry Purcell. Among others, the ensemble presented some of Händel's Deutsche Arien, as well as Purcell's O let me weep. In the review it is then said: «Whether the heartbreakingly sad Let me weep or Meine Seele hört im Sehen by Handel, sparkling with joy of life and cheerfulness: Without any artificiality and exaggeration Gerlinde Sämann reaches a completely unadulterated expression. Her voice is in all levels and volumes of great clarity and reaches a warm radiance at full unfolding. Technically well-versed, she uses the vibrato very sparingly and the sounds seem to flow out of her with ease».
Here's an excerpt from one of the concerts as a video on our YouTube-Kanal.
Breathtaking in Prague
And once again it was breathtaking: The programme Breathtaking, with star soprano Hana Blažíková and the «Father of all cornettists» Bruce Dickey, which also has appeared on CD two years ago, always travels the audience to true cheers.
This time, Hana Blažíková had a home game, because it sounded in the magnificent Church of Saints Simon and Judah in the Old Town of Prague, in the concert series of the Prague Symphony Orchestra - and the audience was thrilled here as well.
Listen here in Sigismondo D'Indias Langue al vostro languir, a piece from this program, which was heard the next time on May 19th at the Alter Musik Regensburg:
Gerlinde Sämann: Good Friday in the Leipzig Thomaskirche
It was not only a special pleasure for soprano Gerlinde Sämann, but also a special honor: to sing Bach's St. Matthew Passion on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, 29 and 30 March at the place where the work was first performed on Good Friday 1729, the Leipzig Thomaskirche.
Under the direction of Thomaskantor Gotthold Schwarz, she performed here together with the Thomanerchor Leipzig and the Gewandhaus Orchestra. The concert on Good Friday was broadcast live by the radio stations mdr Kultur and Deutschlandradio Kultur.
And the critics responded enthusiastically to Gerlinde Sämann's interpretation: «Gerlinde Sämann in the aria beguiles with her pure soprano. My Savior wants to die out of love, in a way the heart of the entire St. Matthew Passion.» - said the Leipziger Volkszeitung on March 31 - a judgment that anyone who has ever heard her with a Bachian aria will understand.
Convince yourself of this, in the fantastically sung aria of Johann Sebastian Bach's Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen (from BWV 127).
La Divina Armonia: Neapolitan Passion
Neapolitan Baroque: That's not only a synonym for splendor on the opera stage, but also for vocal perfection and deep, passionate devotion to the respective subject in sacred music.
La Divina Armonia, directed by Lorenzo Ghielmi, dedicated themself to this fascinating repertoire with this year's Passion programme, in which, in addition to Pergolesi's touching Stabat Mater, several completely unknown works, some of which were just rediscovered by Ghielmi, were performed - like a concerto by Francesco Durante, or two lamentations for solo soprano or alto voice by Francesco Feo.
This intense musical exploration of the Passion events took place on 24th March in the Milan Basilica of San Simpliciano and on 25th March in the Salzlager Hall in Tyrol, as part of the local Easter Festival.
Here you can enjoy an excerpt from the Milano-concert on our YouTube channel.
Alex Potter: Purcell recital
Orpheus Britannicus & friends was the title of the programme, which countertenor Alex Potter and Patrick Ayrton, harpsichord and organ, performed in various locations in February and March with great success: On 9 and 10 February in Utrecht, in the framework of the Purcell Dag of the Organization Oude Muziek, on 11 February in Amsterdam and on 4 March in Hasselt, Belgium.
In this programme Alex Potter wants to present music of the - till today well-known - star composer Purcell together with works of some of his contemporaries, who are almost forgotten today; decidedly wrongly, as the singer thinks!
So he performed in addition to, for example, Purcell's Evening hymn, works by Henry Lawes, Matthew Locke, John Blow, Pelham Humpfrey, Nicholas Lanier, and Thomas Tomkins: alltogether names which rarely appear on concert programmes, but their works are just as appealing as the ones by Purcells.
Convince yourself here, in Pelham Humfrey's A Hymne to God the father:
New at SONUS: Les Voix humaines!
From Dowland to Bach, from Monsieur de Ste Colombe to Vivaldi: Anyone who has ever believed that viol repertoire is a fairly limited field is irrefutably taught better by Les Voix humaines.
Whether as viol duo, consort or with various other instruments and singers, Susie Napper, Margaret Little, Mélisande Corriveau and Felix Deak not only busy themselves with the traditional Consort repertoire, but they also arrange other suitable works for their instruments - following good old Baroque practice. And with amazing results!
But also in many other respects, this Canadian viol formation brings a breath of fresh air to the concert stage: be it with their appealing and spontaneous appearance, with their highly energetic, technically excellent, often very free but always well-considered playing or their intelligent programmes, which are not only well-grounded in their conception but always exciting and entertaining. In short: Les Voix humaines tries to convey a thoroughly complex repertoire as attractive and appealing as possible, but without ever compromising on the musical quality. A truly rare mix!
Listen here to a piece of Vivaldi (yes, really!): Four Seasons for four viols ...
Gunar Letzbor records Mozart sonatas
When the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on his way to Paris stayed in Mannheim for longer than planned in 1777/78, he sniffed a lot of musical fresh air: here resided, under the rays of the brilliance of the Elector Carl Theodor, musical trendsetters of the time, such as Stamitz or Cannabich whose new ideas Mozart eagerly absorbed. This can be discerned in his Mannheimer Sonaten, for violin and clavicembalo, in which the young Salzburg composer adapted the new stylistic elements and - inflamed by love for the singer Aloysia Weber - created masterpieces of chamber music that speak of tender affection as well as fiery veneration.
Violinist Gunar Letzbor, leader of the ensemble Ars Antiqua Austria recorded these sonatas on CD together with Erich Traxler at the harpsichord in the last week of January, discovering - after careful reading of Mozart's letters and numerous other sources from that period - many new sides in them. Thus as usual with this musician, this recording should provide for some musical surprises, some aha effects!
The CD will be released this summer on the label Arcana. Here you can enjoy a preview impression of KV 303:
CD recording Le Miroir de Musique
With the introduction of the bow in the West of Europe at the end of the 10th century, the fiddle found its place in our musical world - an instrument which can not be overestimated in its importance as a precursor of the modern violin. But on the way to the 1520s, when finally the violin arose, there were still many intermediate steps, different forms, playing styles and moods in the different countries and regions of Europe.
Baptiste Romain, musician and professor of bowed stringed instruments of the Middle Ages and Renaissance at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis retraces this route over five centuries on his new CD, which his ensemble Le Miroir de Musique has just recorded. In a rather opulent cast, by the way, with four singers and seven instrumentalists.
The CD titled Seculum Viellatoris will be released this spring on the label Ricercar.
Look forward to listening to it with an anonymous Uitime estampie Real from the beginning of the 14th century, performed with fiddle and percussion - one of the earliest surviving examples of instrumental music:
Gerlinde Sämann: Weihnachtsoratorium
It is simply a great role for her - as is more or less every Baroque repertoire which is virtuosic and high: soprano Gerlinde Sämann sang all the cantatas of Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the Bach Choir Stuttgart on 16 and 17 December under the direction of KMD Jörg-Hannes Hahn.
At the two concerts in the town church of Bad Cannstadt, the six cantatas by Bach were complemented by Antoine Charpentier's famous Te Deum.
New discovery and CD recording Ars Antiqua Austria
Rupert Ignaz Mayr (1646-1712) was a highly versatile and fascinating violinist and composer of the baroque age, probably trained in Passau and Paris and then active in Munich, Freising, Regensburg and Passau, among other places. Over the course of the centuries, his music was forgotten, though. Violinist Gunar Letzbor has now dug up and edited a number of Mayr's works from his Sacri Concentus collection, and has some of them just recorded on CD - as a prelude to a series of several recordings, by the way, that you can already look forward to!
Together with his ensemble Ars Antiqua Austria - which not in vain calls itself «ensemble for new baroque music» - and several vocal soloists, he recorded in the beautiful atmosphere of the St. Florian Abbey in Linz various psalms and hymns, that present Mayr as a tremendously colorful composer: he combines the style of the Munich court around 1700, influenced by Italian musicians, with French refinement and echoes even of Bavarian folk music, and thus shows very own and highly attractive colours in his music.
Listen into a recording session in which Ars Antiqua Austria and Alois Mühlbacher, soloist of the St. Florian Boys' Choir, perform Mayr's Hymnus Venite gentes for soprano, two violins, two violas and continuo.
New at SONUS: Barbora Kabátková
She's not only a fantastic singer but also a very nice person - and so we're enchanted that we'll represent the Czech soprano Barbora Kabátková! Welcome to Sonus!
Barbora is in a way a rather typical musician in the early music scene: she did not only study singing at one or the other conservatorio, but she also concerned herself with musicology, choir conducting and church music during her vocal training. With her own ensemble Tiburtina she's specialised in Medieval music, whilst she's still singing a lot of polyphony in vocal ensembles and does research around Gregorian chant and Medieval music in general.
In her career, which became increasingly international in recent years, she sort of slided in: after singing first concerts with the Baroque repertoire with groups like Collegium 1704 or Collegium Marianum more and more directors and presenters discovered her warm, but perfectly focussed soprano voice. Thus she's getting invitations from well-known groups and musicians all over the world in the meanwhile.
Enjoy her beautiful voice her in a live recording of
Sancez' Stabat Mater (with Collegium 1704, directed by Vaclav Luks):
CD recording La Divina Armonia
Girolamo Frescobaldi's book of motets from 1627 is a compilation of beautiful works for two to five voices - works which nearly were forgotten for centuries. One of the reasons might have been that one of the five part books, of which the collection originally consisted, was lost, and thus no alto-part existed any more. But through meticulous reasearch this lost part book was reconstructed and completed only recently, and so this fascinating collection of sacred works by this great Roman composer and organ player of early Baroque could be performed again.
And who would be more suitable for this than Lorenzo Ghielmi to rescui these motets from oblivion and to record them with his ensemble La Divina Armonia? Additionally there'll be a couple of organ works on this CD, masterly played by Lorenzo Ghielmi himself.
The recording took place on a historical organ by Antegnati, built around 1625 in Peglio (Como) in Italy. Five fine Italian singers worked here for several days under direction of Lorenzo and made these wonderful works sound again.
The CD will be released next year on the Flemish Early Music label Passacaille. We exspect it with joyful anticipation!
Reformation in the Philharmonie Berlin
Remembrance of the Reformation in the Philharmonie Berlin: Gerlinde Sämann, soprano, Alex Potter, countertenor, David Munderloh, tenor, and Dominik Wörner, bass, sang in a concert of Concerto Melante - the only ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic ochestra which is consequently playing on authentic instruments - the concert featuring 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
das einzige konsequent auf historischen Instrumenten musizierende Ensemble der Berliner Philharmoniker - unter Leitung von Raimar Orlovsky da eine kompetente, klanglich glanzvolle und bestens aufeinander abgestimmte Sängerriege zur Seite gestellt.
Directed by violinist Raimar Orlovsky the four singers on 22 Ocotber performed a programme, which was subtly put together, with works by composers as Walter, Buxtehude, Schein, Tunder, Becker, Telemann and Bach.
Per-Sonat: new CD
A veritable masterstroke is the new CD of ensemble Per-Sonat, directed by Sabine Lutzenberger. The recording, which just was released on the Christophorus label, is entitled Bis an der Welt ihr Ende (till the end of the world) and presents German songs of the time of the Reformation - from touching to martial, from intimate devotion to ardent adoration.
But - as we're used from Per-Sonat - the CD offers not only beautiful music in an eminently poetical and lyrical interpretation, but also learn a lot about the developement of the genre of the German song. That starts with the contemporaries of Luther, as Ludwig Senfl, but then also the influence of Orlando Lasso is a topic as well as the relations between secular and sacred song with composers like Hassler or Lechner, followed by an outlook into early Baroque with Johann Hermann Schein.
So on one hand one hears the thread which runs through this development, on the other hand Per-Sonat shows how the German song developed during a century - parallel to the development of the German society. And that's an amazingly thrilling story!
Listen here to one of the songs on the CD, Johann Hermann Schein's Ach Gott und Herr.
Phantasm at Trigonale in Austria
The programme viol consort Phantasm directed by Laurence Dreyfus played on 6 September in Austrian Sankt Veit contrasted the music of two radical thinkers from the 16th century, the Englishman Christopher Tye (c1505-73) and the Frenchman Claude Le Jeune (c1528-1600).
In the festival Trigonale the musicians of the ensemble demonstrated, how boldly these composers are playing with the metrical and harmonic traditions of their respective country; and it required indeed a group like Phantasm to present these pieces because this rhytmical and melodical peculiarities can only be fully enjoyed when performed as vibrantly and brilliantly, perfectly in tune and cristal clear as these viol players are able to do!
Le Miroir de Musique in Utrecht
Not many people today are aware of the lay brotherhood of the Brethren of the Common Live - but this group, which developed in the course of the 14th century in the Netherlands and devoted itself to a pure, chaste and simple life, reading and meditation, was a harbinger of the Reformation. Marin Luther himself attended a school of this brotherhood in Magdeburg and was deeply influenced by their thinking with regard to his later ideas.
Of course this brotherhood also developed their own liturgical musci for their services. And for this very particular repertoire Baptiste Romain did research in old manuscripts and presented the results with his ensemble Le Miroir de Musique in a concert on 1 September in the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht with a rather big cast of four singers and four instruments.
An impressing - and today totally unknown - repertoire, a gorgeous concert!
Phantasm: Gramophone Award!
It surely was a great success already, when the CD of John Dowland's Lachrimae, which viol consort Phantasm under direction of Laurence Dreyfus had released in the autumn of 2016 ranked high in the British and international Classic Charts for several months and was nearly overwhelmed with praising reviews - and a sort of forebode of what we just came to know: the recording won the Gramophone Award 2017 for Early Music.
Laurence Dreyfus and his collegues accepted the award on 13 September in a ceremony in London with highest pleasure.
And by the way: according to first rumors the Dowland recording will receive another of the internationally important prizes - we'll hold you updated...
Listen here to the Lachrimae Antiquae on the decorated CD:
Ordo Virtutum in Utrecht
With their programme Fragmentum ensemble Ordo Virtutum, directed by Stefan Morent, was searching for forgotten melodies from the Middle Ages on 30 August in the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht - or even for a forgotten world. The background: after the Reformation was finally introduced in Württemberg in 1537 many old music manuscripts suddenly seemed to be superfluous, as they were useless for the reformed liturgy.
Thus they were took apart and the precious parchment was reused for instance as cover for a new manuscript, or to stabilise a book spine.
But thanks to the exploratory urge of Stefan Morent, who rummaged in South German archives for months, some of these forgotten and destroyed pieces could sound again now; at least - as the title of the programme suggests - in fragments.
Listen here to an antiphon from the Holy Blood Office Weingarten:
In their second cooperation the nine musicians presented in the Geertekerk Utrecht penitential psalms by those composers with four singers, a cornetto and four trombones; a cast which mirrored the severity and gravity of this fascinating music in the most ecxcellent way - and with this also reflected the seriousness, which the composers at the time of the Reformation dedicated to this topics.
Between conflict and reconciliation was the title of the programme which he performed in his wonderfully cantabile way of playing a keyboard instrument on 29 August. The programme contained music by various organ player-composers, who either were in service of a pope or a secular ruler in the times of Reformation - either wrote music for the Counter-Reformation. With this he presented a piece by Arvo Pärt as well as a Da nobis pacem from his own production.
Listen here to Lorenzo in a movement from Handel's organ concerto in B, op. IV, Nr. 2:
Vigils with laReverdie in Utrecht
Vigilia alla laude di Sancta Maria was the headline of a concert with laReverdie on 26 August in the framework of the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht. And this vigils could have become a rather monochrome affair, as the music from the Cortona- and Firenze-manuscript from mid-thirteenth century is unisonous and in most parts written deliberately simple, because it was created by the mendicant orders as an antipole against the splendour of the Roman Catholic church in the Middle Ages.
But with laReverdie there was absolutley no risk in this regard: the six musicians with their voices and various instruments let their audience feel the delight of a laude for St. Agnes as intensely as the meditative atmosphere of the adoration of the Holy Spirit or the spiritedness in a laude for St. Francisco. With rhythmical elements and improvisations they created an impressively stirring experience, without ever touching the wrong side of the border between serious and populist music making.
The concert was recorded by the Concertzender and will be broadcast on this station soon.
La Divina Armonia: Ensemble in Residence in Utrecht
It's of course per se a veritable honour to be invited to the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht - the biggest Early Music festival worldwide, which additionally was elected best festival of Europe by the European Festival Association. But for Lorenzo Ghielmi this honour was even augmented, as he and his ensemble La Divina Armonia were also chosen Artist in Residence for the 2017 edition of the festival.
So it fell to Lorenzo and his musicians in the openining concert of the festival on 25 August in the great hall of TivoliVredenburg, to inaugurate the new Baroque organ, which recently was build in this venue; the only Baroque organ ever built in a concert hall of this size, by the way. They fulfilled this mission in the most splendorous manner with several soloistic organ works, a Bach cantata (BWV 35), in which the organ is used as solo instrument and one cantata (BWV 79) in which it is playing continuo.
The concert was broadcasted live by the Dutch station Avotros Klassiek.
Here you can see it in full length in a video on our YouTube Channel.!
In a second concert on 27 August Lorenzo Ghielmi and his musicians devoted themself to cantatas of the North-German organ school. In their concert entitled Organistenmusiken they presented works by Tunder, Buxtehude, Pachelbel, Reincken and Lübeck. These pieces - rather chamber-music, but unbelievably appealing to hear - were performed in the Hertz hall of Vredenburg.
The concert was recorded by the Concertzender and will be broadcast on this station before long.
Watch here as an appetizer one piece from the concert on our YouTube Channel: Dieterich Buxtehude's cantata Salve desiderium.
LaReverdie at Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Claudia and Livia Caffagni and Elisabetta de Mircovich from laReverdie had an intense weekend in the North of Germany: they appeared during the medieval weekend at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern festival, where they played and sung two wonderful programmes in an an extremely charming setting. Furthermore their concerts were moderated by medieval expert Bernhard Morbach with instructive texts.
So on 19 August they presented music by Hildegard von Bingen in the gorgeous Güstrow castle; on 20 August they played and sung secular music from the Middeleages from Italy, France and Germany at two stops of a musical walk in and around the Zarrentin monastery.
Here you can watch parts from both programmes in a video, produced by Bernhard Morbach, on our YouTube Channel (in case you're in a hurry: the sections with laReverdie start at 8:36 and 24:10).
Virtuosic music for cornetto and bass in Vantaa BRQ
It was a completely new group of musicians around cornetto player Bruce Dickey and bass Wolf Matthias Friedrich, which came together on 6 August in the Vantaa BRQ festival near Helsinki. With Stefano Rossi, violin, Adrian Rovatkay, bassoon and dulcian, and Marcin Szelest, organ, three outstanding musicians had joined Wolf and Bruce, and all of them were enthusing the audience by their perfect ensemble playing as well as by their excellent soloistic mastery.
Together, the five musicians presented a programme of music from the 17th century, which focused on the virtuoso soloistic bass voice, often paired with an equally virtuosic instrument in the treble register - the cornetto. So they put works by German composers such as Pachelbel or Rosenmüller on the programme, but also such by Italian colleagues as Peranda, Rigatti, Merula or Valentini, and once again proved that the preferences of musicians and audiences in the 17th century were not restricted by national borders.
A fascinating program, a great collaboration - and certainly not the last get-together of this newly founded ensemble!
And in case you didn't listen to a really virtuosic cornetto player for a long time, then you have the opportunity to do so in a Per dolor (after Tromboncino) here: