Browsing: Baroque and Early

1747 : C.P.E. Bach Infusion Baroque, Sonates en trio Wq.145 à 148 et Wq. 150, Leaf Music, 63 min 48 s In 1747, J.S. Bach traveled to Berlin to visit his son Carl Philipp Emanuel. There he composed The Musical Offering, at the heart of which is a trio sonata. This may have inspired C.P.E. In the same year, he reworked several trio sonatas he had written at 17 in collaboration with his father. He offered a modern version, halfway between baroque aesthetics and the new galant style. The Montreal ensemble Infusion Baroque made a wise choice by selecting this seductive repertoire, still…

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Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra/Jeanne Lamon. Trio Arabica. Alon Nashman and Maryem Tollar, narrators. Conceived by Alison Mackay. Tafelmusik Media TMK 1035 DVD & CD. Total Time: 97:15 (DVD); 70:00 (CD). A founding member of Tafelmusik, Alison Mackay has also developed such multi-disciplinary projects as The Four Seasons: A Cycle of the Sun, The Galileo Project, House of Dreams. The latest, Tales of Two Cities, draws together music, history and culture from Europe and the Muslim world, drawing attention to what we have shared for centuries. Leipzig and Damascus have long been important as…

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Alexa Raine-Wright, Sallynee Amawat, Andrea Stewart and Rona Nadler are rising stars of baroque music. In 2013, the ensemble founded Infusion Baroque because of their common passion for fine-tuning early music. In February 2017, the group launched their first album featuring sonatas by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. The 2017-18 season cements their innovative qualities beyond musical performances. Infusion Baroque’s uniqueness lies not only in artistic sensitivity but also in a fondness for musical and historical research. The players present baroque music to new audiences, combining other artistic media with chamber music. This modernization breathes new life into the historical context…

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Tribute to Telemann (Lukos Records) Never sampled Georg Philipp Telemann? It’s like Vivaldi with added carbs, or Bach at a gentle walking pace. That Telemann (1681-1767) was a significant composer is indisputable. Handel held him in high esteem and Bach named his son Carl Philipp Emanuel after his good friend. Both were happy to receive his scores and both expressed concern for his irregular personal life. Telemann’s music is well written, sits easily beneath the fingers and does not last too long. So why do I find it so hard to thrill to? Perhaps because the others had so much…

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John Blow: An ode on the death of Mr Henry Purcell (Hyperion) For a brief window in the 1690s – until the night Mrs Purcell shut her husband out in the cold – London was the go-to place for young composers in search of top tuition and an appreciative audience. Italians like Arcangelo Corelli were keen to study with Henry Purcell and English composers grew in confidence. Then, one November night in 1695, Mrs P decided not to stay up til her old man got back from the theatre and poor Henry caught cold and died, or so the story goes.…

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Cecilia and Sol: Dolce Duello (Decca) Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo Sol Gabetta, cellist I am about to break another of my hard-and-fast rules. A while back, I swore never to give another three-star review as long as lived on the grounds that such things are cop-outs for critics who cannot make up their minds, one way or another, about the recommendability of a record. One way or another, I stand by that judgement. So why the exception? The present album brings together the super-mezzo Cecilia Bartoli, the highest-selling diva on record since Callas, and Sol Gabetta, an Argentine cellist of mostly…

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To mark the 30th anniversary of the ­ensemble Les Idées heureuses, which she founded in 1987, Geneviève Soly is ­tackling her favourite project once more: bringing the virtuoso harpsichordist and composer Christoph Graupner, one of the great contemporaries of J.S. Bach, out of obscurity. November 19 at Bourgie Hall, 30 years to the day that the ensemble performed their first concert, Les Idées heureuses will ­celebrate their anniversary with a benefit ­concert that pairs Johann Sebastian Bach and Christoph Graupner. These composers are the backbone of the ensemble’s repertoire and the particular favourites of its director, the ­harpsichordist and musicologist…

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The Montreal Bach Festival opens on November 17 at the Maison Symphonique with a performance of Bach’s ­monumental Mass in B Minor by Collegium 1704, an acclaimed early-music group based in Prague. The Mass summons a month of ­performances devoted to Bach and his ­catalogue, his contemporaries, and his ­influence on the composers of our time. Collegium 1704’s Montreal ­appearance — the Canadian debut of this élite fifty-member choir and instrumental ensemble — is ­intended in part as a celebration of the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation. This Canadian performance, which has been years in the making,…

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When the Prague-based orchestra and vocal ensemble Collegium 1704 opens the Bach Festival of Montreal with Bach’s Mass in B Minor on November 17, its founder and artistic director ­Václav Luks believes that audiences should ­expect something different. Luks says that “listeners are accustomed to hearing performances of the B Minor Mass which are reflections of the choral practice of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Bach wanted neither a choir of a hundred voices nor one singer per part. Instead, his ideal was 2–4 singers per part.” The vocal ensemble of Collegium 1704 counts only 19 members. Bach’s Mass in…

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Ever wondered how Handel only needed 24 days to compose the celebrated ­oratorio Messiah, which has become a Christmas tradition world-wide? It turns out that the then 56-year-old Handel was on the verge of bankruptcy, which may have spurred him on, despite the fact that he was ill from a stroke at the time. This back story was dramatized by marketer Pierre Audet in The Brilliant Resurrection of Mr. Handel, a musical narrative on the creation of Messiah. Its successful premiere in spring 2011 by the Chœur Radio Ville-Marie has inspired a ­second staging, this time by the McGill ­Chamber…

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