Walter Gerwig – Lute Suites Nr. 3 G-Minor BMV 995 (Bach) (1954)

UKFrontCover1A pioneer of the early music revival One of the pioneers of the early music revival, the guitarist and lutenist Walter Gerwig was born in Frankfurt an der Oder on 26 November He left school at the age of twelve and was conscripted into the German army as soon as war broke out in Not until 1919 did he return from the Baltic, when he began an apprenticeship with a violin-maker in Hamburg, later studying singing and various aspects of music theory. He was initially self-taught as a guitarist. It was the musicologist and lutenist Hans Dagobert Bruger who, as the recent recipient of a doctorate, introduced Gerwig to the Renaissance lute at an exhibition of musical instruments in Berlin in around Bruger, who was a few years older than Gerwig, was particularly interested in rediscovering lute music. In 1921 he had published the first complete edition of Johann Sebastian Bach s works for the instrument, which he had transcribed for the modern lute. (The modern lute was not the Baroque lute familiar to Bach, its strings arranged in courses of two strings each, but the single-course guitar with an additional set of bass strings.) Gerwig later used Bruger s edition for his Bach recording (CD 3). Gerwig was inspired by Bruger to take up the Renaissance lute and to develop a performing technique whose starting point was melody rather than the instrument s ability to play chords, an ability familiar from its traditional use in accompanying songs, especially among members of the German Youth Movement for whom the guitar was the privileged instrument.

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In 1952, in an Open Letter to Lute Players, Gerwig wrote: When we oldies began to play, there was no one to tell us not to start with four-part chords but as with any other instrument to start by cultivating monophonic playing. No one explained to us the fixed technical and musical rules that must be applied as a matter of course if we were to make the playing sound like singing. Gerwig moved to Berlin in 1924 and found himself at the centre of the lute renaissance. Two years earlier Helmuth Osthoff had completed his doctorate under the title of The Lutenist Santino Garsi da Parma: A Contribution to the History of Upper Italian Lute Music at the End of the Late Renaissance. And in 1926 Georg Sparmann published his inaugural dissertation, Esaias Reusner and the Lute Suite. The following year in Berlin, Hans Neemann published a contemporary anonymous abridged arrangement of a Haydn string quartet for lute, violin and viola da gamba. It was presumably Sparmann who in 1928 encouraged Gerwig to publish five suites from Reusner s Neue Lauten-Früchte. In 1950 Gerwig used Neemann s edition of the Haydn trio to record this particular work , and in 1952 he used his own edition of a suite by Reusner , following this up in 1953 with a recording of works by Garsi da Parma based on Osthoff s transcriptions of these pieces .

The Lauten Collegium (Walter Gerwig, Eva-Juliane Gerstein und Johannes Koch), 1953:
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Throughout this period instrument-makers, too, made an important contribution to the rediscovery of the lute, for it was in the 1920s that the first doublecourse lutes were built based on historical models. One instrument-builder active in this field was Hans Jordan, a number of whose replicas of Renaissance lutes Gerwig later used in his recordings of 18th-century music as well as of the earlier period. In 1925 Fritz Jöde appointed Gerwig lute teacher and chorus master at his newly founded Music School in Berlin. By 1935 Gerwig was running the school. Here Gerwig was able to impart to his pupils an idea of the vast richness of this music one music teacher reported enthusiastically on a course that Gerwig held on the East Frisian island of Juist in the North Sea: In July 1926 Walter Gerwig (of the Music School in Charlottenburg) introduced us to some wonderful old lute music by Neusidler, Judenkünig, Schlick and also Bach, of whom we were even able to hear a fugue for the lute. After 1928 Gerwig also taught the instrument at the State Academy for Church Music and School Music in Berlin. In 1939 he was again called up but within a year was exempted from all further active service in order for him to focus on teaching and entertaining the troops. In 1943 the Reich Radio sent him to St. Florian in Linz, a priory closely associated with Bruckner. Together with the viola d amore player Emil Seiler, the recorder player Thea von Sparr and a number of other musicians, he was to establish an ensemble for Baroque music that made chamber music recordings for a variety of broadcasters and also gave concerts in honour of young artists who have fallen in battle and at services in the priory. After the Second World War Gerwig settled in Hamburg, giving solo recitals in Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, England and Switzerland, and performing in concert with Eva-Juliane Gerstein (soprano) and Johannes Koch (viola da gamba and recorder), the two musicians who also appeared in his Lauten-Collegium.

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Between 1946 and 1949 the Lauten-Collegium alone gave more than 300 concerts. The performers travelled in a jeep that they had jointly acquired. Their preferred fee in these times of rationing and austerity was petrol. Among Gerwig s fellow chamber recitalists were a number of leading proponents of the early music movement, including the gambist August Wenzinger (CD 1), but he also made numerous gramophone recordings, as well as taking part in countless radio and television broadcasts at this time. It was not least as a result of these recordings that Gerwig became known and admired as an influential lutenist and as a leading artistic authority on the lute, his reputation extending far beyond the borders of his native Germany. In 1952 Walter Gerwig was invited to teach the lute at the Cologne Academy of Music, where he was also responsible for a course on the performing practice of early music. As such, he was the only German lutenist active at any of the country s music academies during the 1950s. His most famous pupils include Eike Funck, Jürgen Hübscher, Dieter Kirsch, Michael Schäffer, who took over Gerwig s lute class after his death in 1966, and, above all, Eugen Dombois, who in 1962 established a lute class at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, where he continued to teach until Among the alumni of Dombois s class are Paul O Dette, Toyohiko Satoh and Hopkinson Smith, all three of whom are still active and widely considered to be among the most important lutenists currently appearing on the world s stages. Gerwig was held in high esteem by his pupils. Dieter Kirsch, who for many years was the principal of the Würzburg Academy of Music, recalls: His language, which grew correspondingly rich in imagery whenever he needed to clarify musical processes; his wealth of ideas whenever he had to find succinct examples to illustrate technical problems; and his ever-present superiority whenever he picked up his instrument in order to demonstrate his ideas on music left such a lively impression that all who think of him as a person are also bound to think not only of the picture of a creative individual and sensitive artist but also of an exemplary teacher. Eike Funck reports something very similar. She set up the first course in the performing practice of early music as a lecturer in early music at the Hamburg Academy of Music:

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An essential hallmark of his teaching was a language that was rich in imagery and that he used to explain musical processes. For example, he would demonstrate how a musical phrase should end by reference to a bird coming in to land, breaking its landing by stretching out its wings and coming to rest softly on the ground an admirable image for the purposeful shaping of a melodic line with an unaccented final note. Improvisation was a recurrent theme in all his lessons, not just in continuo playing. In this regard he proved to be unusually witty: the exercises that he devised on the train from Bonn to Cologne and that became harder with each passing week turned out to be highly Romantic harmonizations of simple nursery songs, producing a guessing game that brought cheer to the hearts and minds of the students who were struggling to master difficult chords. The period of Gerwig s teaching activities in Cologne in the 1950s also coincided with the reconstruction and dissemination of early music, especially through the medium of gramophone recordings. Deutsche Grammophon had launched its Archiv- Produktion label in 1947 in order to promote early music. Two years later Gerwig recorded Bach s Lute Suite BWV 995 for the label, a pioneering feat in every way. In order to appreciate the achievement that this recording represents, we need only to recall that it was not until 1946 that the first complete recording of one of Bach s five multi-movement works for the lute had been released, when Wanda Landowska s harpsichord recording of the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro BWV 998 had appeared. Previously, it was above all guitarists who had availed themselves of Bach s works for solo violin and cello and recorded arrangements of individual movements from them. Gerwig remained without any imitators for many years, for no other lutenist during the 1950s was prepared to risk making a recording of a complete Bach suite. Not until 1964 did an LP devoted exclusively to lute works by Bach first appear on the international market: it was by Gerwig. The following year he received the German Record Critics Award for another recording of Baroque music for the lute. Gerwig s standing among professional circles is clear not least from the fact that his entry in the encyclopaedic Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart the Bible of musicologists at that time had nothing but praise for him: In Germany, Walter Gerwig has raised the lute from its relatively theoretical and amateur beginnings and thanks to his artistic mastery granted it a place among concert instruments. He must take considerable credit for the rediscovery and dissemination of the lute and of its music, especially through his numerous gramophone recordings. Devoted to Walter Gerwig, the present anthology offers a small insight into the great legacy of this pioneer of e arly music. (Jörg Jewanski)

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Personnel:
Walter Gerwig (lute)

The German edition:
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Tracklist:
01. Präludium 6.53
02. Allemande 5.34
03. Courante 2.36
04. Sarabande 3.18
05. Gavotte 5.40
06. Gigue 1.46

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Daniil Trifonov & The Philadelphia Orchestra – Destination Rachmaninov – Departure (Piano Concertos 2 & 4) (2018)

FrontCover1Daniil Olegovich Trifonov (born 5 March 1991) is a Russian pianist and composer. Described by The Globe and Mail as “arguably today’s leading classical virtuoso” and by The Times as “without question the most astounding pianist of our age”, Trifonov’s honors include a Grammy Award win in 2018 and the Gramophone Classical Music Awards’ Artist of the Year Award in 2016. The New York Times has noted that “few artists have burst onto the classical music scene in recent years with the incandescence” of Trifonov. He has performed as soloist with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony and the Munich Philharmonic, and has given solo recitals in such venues as Royal Festival Hall, Carnegie Hall, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Berliner Philharmonie, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Concertgebouw, and the Seoul Arts Center.

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Born in Nizhny Novgorod, Trifonov began studying piano at the age of five and performed in his first solo recital at the age of seven. In 2000, he began studying with Tatiana Zelikman [ru] at the Gnessin School of Music in Moscow. From 2009 to 2015, Trifonov studied with Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music. In 2011, he won the First Prize and Grand Prix at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in addition to the First Prize at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, and in 2010 was a prizewinner at the International Chopin Piano Competition. In 2013, Trifonov signed a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon; his first album for the label, a live recording of his debut solo recital at Carnegie Hall, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. He later won a Grammy in 2018 for an album of the complete transcendental études for piano by Franz Liszt. His albums have appeared on international record chart rankings, with seven ranking on Billboard Top Classical Album charts. (wikipedia)

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And here´s his 9th solo-album:

Following their much-praised release of Rachmaninov’s “Paganini Variations”, Daniil Trifonov, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin start with what will become a complete cycle of the Rachmaninov Piano Concertos. This release includes the famous Second Concerto, along with the less popular Fourth, the later recorded live in Philadelphia.

The Second Concerto is a highly energetic, fully charged performance. Trifonov pushes forward from the first bar, and the Philadelphia Orchestra is right along with him. The Phillis have their unique connection with the Russian composer, having worked with him extensively while he was in a practically forced exile in the states, and his own legendary recordings of the concertos were made with this orchestra. Is there still a hint of the late 1920’s and 1940’s sound to the ensemble? Some say their sharp yet warm strings sound is part of their DNA going back to the Ormandy era, and it shines through here as well. Time and again, the orchestra’s contribution to these performances is indispensable, with small touches rarely heard in other versions. Hear for instance the delicate dialogue and accompaniment of all parties at 3:50 in the first movement. They do a jolly good job following Trifonov intricate tempo changes, which to me never sound out of place, serves the music’s statement in full and never mannered. If one goes back to the composer’s own version under Stokowski (RCA), his attitude toward rubato as a tool to increase the intensity of musical phrasing is very reminiscent of Trifonov’s.

Daniil Trifonov04Speaking of the Rachmaninov version (1929), his slow movement is one of the greatest recordings of all time, mainly because of his beauty of tone and heart-warming simplicity. Trifonov’s approach is more direct, more outward. It’s not as moving, but highly effective when listening as part of the whole concerto. What occurs in 5:00 at this movement is a good example of pianist and conductor masterful control over tempo changes – The peek of the musical phrase is emphasized with slowing down, holding all the weight, while right afterward the pianist takes us back to the original tempo with his solo re-entering. On other performances, it would have sounded too “romanticized” – here it sounds just right.
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The third movement finds Trifonov, the Philadelphians and Nézet-Séguin at their most energetic – with a cost. This is the only movement in this album where at times the partners are not entirely in sync (0:30), though Trifonov’s virtuosity and the players enthusiastic soon make you forget about this tiny details. I liked very much the pianist’s handling of the famous second subject, played with a forward-moving energy rather than dwelling over it like in so many other performances. In sum, it’s an energetic, very nicely done and fully “live” Rachmaninov Second, even under studio conditions. Competition is so fierce these days that why should one even bother to compete – But I will mention Rachmaninov’s own version as a point of reference, Krystian Zimerman (also on DG) impressive pianism, Lugansky and Orano with the CBSO for their almost chamber-like collaboration, and a hidden jam – Barry Douglas, the LSO and Tilson Thomas for their delicate, mature and penetrating account. Trifonov in comparison has an irresistible energy, and is also very well recorded.

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If you heard some hidden treasures in the Second Concerto’s score, then you’re in for a treat in this version of the Fourth, maybe even more impressive a performance than the second. One has to admit the piece’s small weaknesses; It’s not as accessible, seductive or well-organized a composition as the other three concertos, but it certainly can’t be dismissed or ignored for lack of originality. Trifonov and his partners are fully committed to this somewhat enigmatic concerto, the same high spirit coming through even more here (maybe due to the tension of the live recording). Trifonov emphasis of rhythmic elements within phrases makes this a fascinating version – hear for instance his off-bit left-hand staccato at 3:50 in the first movement, or his building up the tension with the brass and woodwind sections from 5:00 onward.

The Fourth’s second movement is perhaps sentimental to a fault, but Trifonov direct, almost muscular handling of it and the orchestra’s warm string accompaniment work extremely well. It’s not Michelangeli’s serenity as heard in his legendary EMI version, but very nicely done indeed. The outburst in the middle of the movement and the exit of its entanglement is another example of the masterful collaboration between soloist and orchestra.

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The third movement is perhaps the most problematic and maybe can be partly blamed for the relative lack of popularity of this interesting concerto. What strikes the most of Trifonov and Nézet-Séguin’s version is how modern it can sound in the right hands – finally you could hear Rachmaninov looking forward to the 20th century rather than looking back to the 19th – listen to 0:55 and elsewhere and you could swear hearing hints of Prokofiev and Shostakovich. You rarely exposed to these connections on other versions, if ever.

The fill-up in this album is Rachmaninov’s arrangement of 3 movements from Bach’s Violin Sonata No. 3. It’s well played and wisely placed between concertos – It makes you want to hear some original Bach from Trifonov one day. The next installment with Concertos No. 1&3 is coming within a year. This release makes it highly anticipated. (Tal Agam)

And I add as a bonus his fantastic version of the legendary Piano Concerto No. 1 (by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky),recorded live at the Carnegie Hall, New York in 2011.

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Personnel:
Daniil Trifonov (piano)
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The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin

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Tracklist:
Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No.2 In C Minor , Op. 18:
01. Moderato – Più Vivo – Maestoso (Alla Marcia) – Moderato 11.14
02. Adagio Sostenuto 11.47
03. Allegro Scherzando – Moderato – Allegro Scherzando – Presto – Moderato – Allegro Scherzando – Ala Breve. Agitato – Presto – Maestoso – Risoluto 12.16

Suite From J. S. Bach’s Partita For Violin In E Major, BWV 1006:
04. Preludio. Non Allegro 3.48
05. Gavotte 2.45
06. Gigue 1.42

Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No.4 In G Minor , Op. 40:
07. Allegro Vivace 10.07
08. Largo 7.05
09. Allegro Vivace 9.24

Music composed by Sergei Rachmaninov
except “Partita For Violin In E Major, BWV 1006” composed by Johann Sebastian Bach

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10. Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 (live at Carnegie Hall, October 11, 2011) (*) 35.45

(*) Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev

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The official website:
Website

Maurice André – Trompettissimo (1995)

FrontCover1Maurice André (born 21 May 1933 – 25 February 2012) was a French trumpeter, active in the classical music field.

He was professor of trumpet at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris where he introduced the teaching of the piccolo trumpet including the Baroque repertoire on trumpet. André has inspired many innovations on his instrument and he contributed to the popularization of the trumpet.

André was born in Alès in the Cévennes, into a mining family. His father was an amateur musician; André studied trumpet with a friend of his father, who suggested that André be sent to the conservatory. In order to gain free admission to the conservatory, he joined a military band. After only six months at the conservatory, he won his first prize.

At the conservatory, André’s professor, Raymond Sabarich, reprimanded him for not having worked hard enough and told him to return when he could excel in his playing. A few weeks later, he returned to play all fourteen etudes found in the back of Arban’s book to a very high standard. Sabarich later said that “it was then that Maurice Andre became Maurice Andre.” Maurice André won the Geneva International Music Competition in 1955, together with Theo Mertens, and the ARD International Music Competition in Munich in 1963. He was made an honorary member of the Delta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia at Ithaca College in New York in 1970.

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André rose to international prominence in the 1960s and 1970s with a series of recordings of baroque works on piccolo trumpet for Erato and other labels. He also performed many transcriptions of works for oboe, flute, and even voice and string instruments. André had over 300 audio recordings to his name, from the mid-1950s to his death.

André had three children: Lionel (1959-1988) trumpeter and music teacher; Nicolas, who plays the trumpet; and Béatrice, who plays the oboe. All three performed with their father in concert. He also made several recordings with his brother Raymond (b. 1941).

One of André’s students, Guy Touvron, wrote a biography entitled Maurice André: Une trompette pour la renommée (Maurice André: A Trumpet for Fame), which was published in 2003.

André spent the last few years of his life in retirement in southern France. He died at the age of 78 in a hospital in Bayonne on 25 February 2012. He is buried in the cemetery of the village of Saint-André-Capcèze (in the Lozère). (by wikipedia)

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At the height of his career, the name of Maurice André was synonymous with the trumpet. Not only was he largely responsible for establishing the trumpet as a popular solo instrument, but he also dominated the scene in the 1960s and 70s with a punishing schedule of concerts (an average of 180 a year) and more than 300 recordings, many made on his trademark piccolo trumpet.

André’s eventual success was founded on a solid technique, superb breath control and seemingly inexhaustible stamina, attributed by him to his years in the coalmine: “I built myself up when working in the mine at 14 years old, when I was moving 17 tons of coal a day,” he once said.

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Certainly the technique was formidable. Playing a three-valve Selmer instrument (a fourth valve was added by the manufacturer in 1967 in collaboration with André to extend the register downwards), he effortlessly negotiated the stratospheric pitch range for which the Baroque repertoire was notorious. In the virtuoso faster movements, his tone sparkled brilliantly; in the slow movements it was creamy and seductive. As Karajan once opined: “He’s undoubtedly the best trumpet player, but he’s not from our world.” (theguardian.com)

So … it´s time to listen to Maurice Andrea again … and again … and again …. He was brilliant !

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Personnel:
Maurice Andre (trumpet)
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Wolfgang Karius (organ)
Guy Perdersen (bass)
Jean-Marc Pulfer (organ)
Gus Wallez (drums)
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Harmonia Nova (on 01.):
Jean-Francois Jenny-Clark (bass)
Niels Lan Doky (clavecin, harpsichord, cembalo)
Daniel Humair (drums)

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Tracklist:

Marc-Antoine Charpentier:
01. Te Deum – Introduction 4.44

Johann Sebastian Bach:
Suite/Ouverture N°3 BWV 1068:
02. Air 3.24
03. Gavotte 1.19

Kantate BWV 78:
04. Aria pour 2 Trompettes 2.23
05. Suite/Ouverture N°2 BWV 1067 – Badinerie 1.25
06. Kantate BWV 140 -Choral “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” 2.17
07. Suite/Ouverture N°2 BWV 1067 – Bourrées I & II 2.11

Antonio Vivaldi:
08. Le Quattro Stagioni – Largo 3.22

Johann Sebastian Bach:
09. Brandenburgisches Konzert – NR. 3 BWV 1048 – Allegro 2.15

Benedetto Marcello:
10. Adieu Venise 4.14

Arcangello Corelli:
11. Allemande 2.30

Jean-Michel Defaye:
12. Fugatissimo 2.21

Georg Friedrich Händel:
13. Allegro 2.40

Domenico Cimarosa:
14. Melodie 2.58

Georg Friedrich Händel:
15. Water Music – Aria 2.41

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Maurice André (21 May 1933 – 25 February 2012)

The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir (Ton Koopman) – Easter Oratorio – Magnificat (Bach) (1998)

FrontCover1Bach’s celebration of Easter is a mostly joyous one, opening with a three-movement sinfonia, richly orchestrated, and complete with trumpets and drums: the third movement includes the chorus inviting listeners to rejoice and hasten to the tomb of Jesus, “For our Savior has awakened.” There follow recitatives and arias for Mary Magdalen, Mary, the mother of James, Peter, and John. Each character goes through grief to love and gratefulness, and Bach’s endlessly inventive scoring, melodic lines, and changing orchestral textures take us on a rich, 40-minute musical journey to peace. Only a too-long soprano aria tends to wear. The Oratorio is coupled on this CD with Bach’s justly famous 12-movement setting (in 25 minutes) of the Magnificat text from Luke. Also elaborately scored, with the vocal choices, tempos, and mood changing every couple of minutes, this is one of the great works of Western liturgical music (Gardiner’s masterly reading of this work is a must-have). The performances, on Baroque instruments and with crisp, clean, unsentimental Baroque style, are exemplary. Rejoice! (by Robert Levine)

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1723-25 were powerful, productive years for Bach in Leipzig as Kantor. In 1723-24 Christmas, comes this Magnificat. Especially attractive to me is track 14, “Aria” “Quia respexit humilitatem” which is a powerful soprano and oboe movement aided by the full chorus piping in “To all Generations!”
The Easter Oratorio was a gift for an honorarium by Duke Christian composed around four aria recitatives for Mary Magdelene, Mary, John and Peter. The opening Sinfonia is breathtaking with its gracious oboe work by Marcel Ponseele.
Building to the heights of the finale, “Praise and Thanks” ends in triumphant declaration by full choir “The Lion of Judah approaches in triumph!”
Strong vocalist performances by soprano Lisa Larsson and bass Klaus Mertens. Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Chorus directed by Ton Koopman is well done with passion and pace.
With translation in French, German and English, this is excellent performance of important Sacred Large-Scale Composition for soloists, choir and orchestra. (by rodboomboom)

The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir

This recording is full of energy and joy. The period instruments sound so wonderful and lush. It was recorded in just the right environment and sounds superb.
The approach to both pieces is spot on and you will want to listen to this recording many times just for the sheer fun of it.
The provided booklet provides some helpful notes on the background of the pieces – when and why Bach wrote them. And also the libretto (which is ALWAYS nice to have). I like to have all that information available and knowing when and why can deepen our appreciation of the music. However, the first and most important thing is to hear the music.
This recording is among the best of these works. So, you would do well to begin here! (by Craig Matteson)

Antonius Gerhardus Michael (Ton) Koopman (born 2 October 1944) is a Dutch conductor, organist and harpsichordist. He is also professor at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. In April 2003 he was knighted in the Netherlands, receiving the Order of the Netherlands Lion.

Koopman had a “classical education” and then studied the organ (with Simon C. Jansen), harpsichord (with Gustav Leonhardt), and musicology in Amsterdam. He specialized in Baroque music and received the Prix d’Excellence for both organ and harpsichord.

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Koopman founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra in 1979 and the Amsterdam Baroque Choir in 1992, now combined as the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir. Koopman concentrates on Baroque music, especially that of Bach and is a leading figure in the “authentic performance” movement. While a number of early-music conductors have ventured into newer music, Koopman has not. He has said, “I draw the line at Mozart’s death” (1791). One exception is his recording of the Concert Champêtre of Francis Poulenc, written in 1928.

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Personnel:
Bogna Bartosz (Alto on 12. – 23.)
Lisa Larsson (Soprano)
Elisabeth von Magnus (Alto on 01. – 11.)
Klaus Mertens (Bass)
Gerd Türk (Tenor)
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soprano vocals:
Annemieke Rademaker – Caroline Stam – Francine van der Heijden – Henriette Feith –  Johannette Zomer – Loes Groot Antink – Maria-Luz Alvarez – Mariette Bastiaansen – Vera Lansink
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tenor vocals :
Geraint Roberts – Henk Gunneman – Jeremy Ovenden – Joost Van Der Linden – Otto Bouwknegt
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Margreet Bongers (bassoon)
Margaret Faultless (solo violin)
Wilbert Hazelzet (solo flute)
Stephen Keavy (solo trumpet)
Jan Kleinbussink (organ)
Jaap ter Linden (solo cello)
Luuk Nagtegaal (timpani)
Nicholas Pap (bass)
Marcel Ponseele (solo oboe d´amore)
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Alto vocals:
Annemieke Cantor – Hugo Naessens – Martine Straesser* – Peter De Groot – Stephen Carter
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Bass vocals:
Donald Bentvelsen – Hans Wijers – Matthijs Mesdag – Mitchell Sandler – René Steur
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violin:
Alida Schat – Carla Marotta – Foskien Kooistra – Marc Cooper – Marshall Marcus – Nicola Cleminson – Tjamke Roelofs
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viola:
Jane Rogers – Martin Kelly
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cello:
Jaap ter Linden – Jonathan Manson
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trumpet:
Jonathan Impett – Robert Vanrijne – Stephen Keavy
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flute:
Marc Hantaï – Marion Moonen – Wilbert Hazelzet
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recorder:
Marion Verbruggen – Reine-Marie Verhagen
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oboe d’amore:
Marcel Ponseele – Michel Henry
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The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra (leader: Margaret Faultless) conducted by Ton Koopman
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The Amsterdam Baroque Choir conducted by Simon Schouten

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Tracklist:

Easter Oratorio BWV 249 (41.02):
01. Sinfonia 4.01
02. Adagio 3.16
03. Chorus: “Kommit, Eilet und Laufet” 4.46
04. Recitativo: “O kalter Männer Sinn!” 1.04
05. Aria: “Seele, deine Spezereien” 11.01
06. Recitativo: “Hier Ist Die Gruft” 0:47
07. Aria: “Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer” 6.17
08. Recitativo: “Indessen seufzen wir” 1.05
09. Aria: “Saget, saget mir geschwinde” 5.47
10. Recitativo: “Wir sind erfreut” 0.40
11. Chorus: “Preis nd Dank” 2.20

Magnificat BWV 243 (25:18)
12. Chorus: “Magnificat Anima Mea Dominum” 2.50
13. Aria: “Et Exsultavit Spiritus Meus In Deo” 2.27
14. Aria: “Quia Respexit Humilitatem” 2.23
15. Chorus: “Omnes Generationes” 1.14
16. Aria: “Quia Fecit Mihi Magna Qui Potens Est” 2.07
17. Aria: “Et Misericordia” 3.14
18. Chorus: “Fecit Potentiam In Brachio Suo” 1.49
19. Aria: “Deposuit Potentes De Sede” 2.17
20. Aria: “Esurientes Implevit Bonis” 2.44
21. Chorus: “Suscepit Israel Puerum Summ” 1.22
22. Chorus: “Sicut Locutus Est Ad Patres Nostros” 1.18
23. Chorus: “Gloria Patri, Gloria Filio” 1.47

Music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March 1685 – 28 July 1750)

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Johann Sebastian Bach

Alison Balsom – Bach Works For Trumpet (2006)

FrontCover1.jpgAlison Louise Balsom, Lady Mendes OBE (born 7 October 1978) is an English trumpet soloist, arranger, producer, music educator and spokesperson for the importance of music education. Balsom was awarded Artist of the Year at the 2013 Gramophone Awards and has won three Classic BRIT Awards and three German Echo Awards, and was soloist at the BBC Last Night of the Proms in 2009. She was the artistic director of the 2019 Cheltenham Music Festival. (by wikipedia)

None of the music on this disc was originally intended for trumpet. All of it in Bach’s days went first to singers, keyboardists and string players. But this point shrinks to a minor historical technicality when British trumpeter Alison Balsom plays. Her case for this music on trumpet is largely irresistible, enough to make one wonder whether Bach shouldn’t have written it her way instead. Incredible sensitivity is Balsom’s secret. In her hands, the trumpet rivals the human voice for expressivity and tonal coloring. Nary a note comes off as harsh or blaring, qualities typically associated with the instrument, and tenderness abounds. It’s hard to split musical hairs at this level of artistry. What’s more, Balsom retains at least part of the music’s original format, collaborating with soloists every bit her equal: organist Colm Carey, violinist Alina Ibragimova and harpsichordist Alistair Ross. Ross is a spry partner in the lengthy but fascinating Italian Variations while Carey more than compensates for the missing ensemble in the Bach-Vivaldi concerto transcriptions and other would-be orchestral works.

Balsom falls short only in the selections from a Violin Partita and a Cello Suite. Even a player as marvelous as she is cannot match the chordal richness of those instruments on the trumpet; much original depth is lost in translation. These two missteps aside, Balsom and Bach are an ideal combination. -(by Zachary Lewis)

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I love baroque music for trumpet, and Alison Balsom captures the playfulness of it beautifully. All the pieces on this CD are adaptations for trumpet from Bach’s chamber music (as well as arrangements that Bach had adapted himself from pieces by Vivaldi and Marcello), accompanied very effectively by Colm Carey on the organ, Alina Ibragimova on violin, Alistair Ross on harpsichord and chamber organ, and Mark Caudle on viola da gamba. By combining modern trumpet with organ, these pieces open up another dimension in one’s listening experience and enjoyment of music; purists might be sceptical about it, but it is definitely worth listening to. Showing consummate skill, Alison Balsom plays each note crisply and clearly with perfect control, and as someone who used to play the trumpet myself, I know that this is by no means an easy task. My particular favourites are the allegro of the concerto in D, the largo of the concerto in C minor, and the badinerie from the orchestral suite no. 2.

All too often we make the mistake of having music on in the background, whilst doing the housework for example, but this CD deserves to be listened to without distractions. Wonderfully uplifting, it will improve any rainy day. Recommended. (by Petra Bryce)

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Personnel:
Alison Balsom (trumpet),
Colm Carey (organ)
Mark Caudle (viola de gamba)
Alina Ibragimova (violin)
Alistair Ross (harpsichord, chamber organ)

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Tracklist:

Concerto in D Major BWV. 972 (after Vivaldi):
01. Allegro 2.05
02. Adagio 3.51
03. Allegro Assai 2.10

Suite No. 2 in D Minor, BWV. 1008:
04. Sarabande 2.41
05. Gigue 2.38

06. Aria Variata In A Minor (Italian Variations) BWV 989 / 9.24
07. Partita No. 3 in E, BWV 1006: Gigue 2.07

Trio Sonata In C Major BWV 529:
08. Allegro 4.55
09. Largo 5.16
10. Allegro 3.31

Concerto In C Minor (After Marcello) BWV 974:
11. Allegro 3.13
12. Largo 3.41
13. Presto 3.12

14. Klavierbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach, II: Aria: Bist du bei mir, BWV 508 / 2.42

Concerto In A Major BWV 1055 (Transposed To C Major):
15. Allegro 4.08
16. Larghetto 5.02
17. Allegro Ma Non Tanto 4.24

18. Suite No. 2 in B Minor, BWV. 1067: VII. Badinerie 1.31
19. Mass in B Minor, BWV 232: Agnus Dei 5.02

Music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach

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Yoshiko Ieki – Toccatas Vol. 1. (J.S.Bach) (2016)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Japanese harpsichordist, Yoshiki Ieki, studied harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt at the Amsterdam Sweelinck Conservatory, where she graduated wirh a soloist diploma in 1981.

And on this album she played on a very old instrument from Johannes Ruckers, part of the legendary Ruckers family:

The Ruckers family (variants: Ruckaert, Ruckaerts, Rucqueer, Rueckers, Ruekaerts, Ruijkers, Rukkers, Rycardt) were harpsichord and virginal makers from the Southern Netherlands based in Antwerp in the 16th and 17th century. Their influence stretched well into the 18th century, and to the harpsichord revival of the 20th.

The Ruckers family contributed immeasurably to the harpsichord’s technical development, pioneering the addition of a second manual; the quality of their instruments is such that the name of Ruckers is as important to early keyboard instruments as that of Stradivarius is to the violin family. In the 18th century, Ruckers instruments were often modified by French makers in a process known as ravalement, to allow for an extended range and other additions.

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The Colmar harpsichord from 1624

Joannes Ruckers (variants: Ioannes, Hans, Jan) (15 January 1578 – 29 September 1642) was the first son of Hans Ruckers, and also became a harpsichord and organ maker. He lived his life in Antwerp. He and brother Andreas became partners in their father’s business upon his death, Joannes becoming sole owner in 1608. He joined the Guild of St Luke in 1611; his entry reads ‘Hans Rukers, sone, claversigmaker’; following this he engraved ‘IR’ into the rose of his instruments, rather than his father’s ‘HR’. He worked for the archdukes of the Netherlands in Brussels from 1616. His nephew Joannes Couchet joined his workshop around 1627, taking it over after his death. Around 35 of his instruments are in existence today. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a short biography of Yoshiko Ieki:

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This album was recorded at the Under Linden Museeum in Colmar/France … on an original harpsichord from 1624 !

And … the music is just brilliant … listen to this fascinating melodies and sounds of an old harpsichord ! Enjoy this trip … !

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Personnel:
Yoshiko Ieki (harpsichord)

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Tracklist:
01. Fantasia & Fugue in A Minor, BWV 904 / 8.45
02. Toccata in E Minor, BWV 914 / 8.21
03. Toccata in D Minor, BWV 913 / 13.21
04. Toccata in F-Sharp Minor, BWV 910 / 11-36
05. The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2:  Prelude & Fugue No. 14 in F-Sharp Minor, BWV 883 / 6.59
06. Toccata in G Major, BWV 916 / 9.12

Music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach

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Yoshiko Ieki

Hilary Hahn – Plays Bach (1997)

FrontCover1.jpgHilary Hahn (born November 27, 1979) is an American violinist. In her career, she has performed throughout the world both as a soloist with leading orchestras and conductors and as a recitalist. She also built a reputation as a champion of contemporary music. Several composers have written works especially for her, including concerti by Edgar Meyer and Jennifer Higdon and partitas by Antón García Abril.

Hahn was born in Lexington, Virginia on November 27, 1979. She began playing the violin one month before her fourth birthday in the Suzuki Program of Baltimore’s Peabody Institute. She participated in a Suzuki class for a year. Between 1985 and early 1990 Hahn studied in Baltimore under Klara Berkovich. In 1990, at ten, Hahn was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where she became a student of Jascha Brodsky. Hahn studied with Brodsky for seven years and learned the études of Kreutzer, Ševčík, Gaviniès, Rode, and the Paganini Caprices. She learned twenty-eight violin concertos, as well as recital programs, chamber works, and assorted showpieces.

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In 1991, at the age of eleven, Hahn made her major orchestral debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.[4] Soon thereafter, Hahn debuted with the Philadelphia Orchestra,[5] Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. Hahn made her international debut in 1994 performing the Bernstein Serenade in Hungary with Ivan Fisher and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Her German debut came in 1995 with a performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto with Lorin Maazel and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. The concert was broadcast in Europe. A year later, Hahn debuted at Carnegie Hall in New York City as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In a 1999 interview with Strings Magazine, Hahn cited people influential to her development as a musician and a student, including David Zinman, the conductor of the Baltimore Symphony and Hahn’s mentor since she was ten, and Lorin Maazel, with whose Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra she performed in Europe.

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By sixteen, Hahn had completed the Curtis Institute’s university requirements, but elected to remain for several years to pursue elective courses, until her graduation in May 1999 with a Bachelor of Music degree.[3] During this time she coached violin with Jaime Laredo, and studied chamber music with Felix Galimir and Gary Graffman.[1] She appeared on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in February 2000, discussing her early experiences with the violin and performing a solo and a duet.[9] In a December 2001 interview on PBS, Hahn stated that of all musical disciplines, she is most interested in performance. (by wikipedia)

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Hahn began recording in 1996 …

… and here´s her debut album:

I do not know what Bach expected or envisioned in a performance of these pieces. But it is awfully hard to imagine him not appreciating this recording. Yes, I do grant what several people have said about Milstein’s Chaconne (in particular) being deeper in emotion, etc., but the pure, plain beauty of the sound produced by Hahn and recorded so cleanly by more modern technology (and evidently in a remarkably resonant space) has it own inherent value. It makes me focus on the genius of Bach’s very notes themselves, especially in the opening E major Partita. And if you listen carefully, I don’t see how anyone could characterize this performance as lacking in creativity – the dynamic range is fantastic, and along with the pacing seems to me to represent a real thoughtfulness about each phrase. I also find that the relatively relaxed tempi add to this effect of simplicity, purity, and beauty, and allow the composer, rather than the virtuosity of the performer, to take center stage. A great recording, in a different, not inferior, sense, when compared to the Old Classics. (David F. Jackson)

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This recording must be heard to be believed.
Having listened to unacommpanied Bach for 45 years, I had long despaired of hearing it in tune, with love and precision.
I despair no longer.
Hilary Hahn is a treasure, who can can become the Michael Jordan of the violin.
We are privileged to share time with her on this planet. (Robert S. Eisenberg)

In other words: brilliant … and she was just 17 years old !

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Personnel:
Hilary Hahn (violin)

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Tracklist:

Partita No. 3 In E Major, BWV 1006:
01. I. Preludio 3:34
02. II. Loure 4:47
03. III. Gavotte En Rondeau 3:16
04. IV. Menuet I 1:53
05. V. Menuet II 3:04
06. VI. Bourrée 1:39
07. VII. Gigue 1:53

Partita No. 2 In D Minor, BWV 1004:
08. I. Allemande 5:13
09. II. Courante 2:09
10. III. Sarabande 4:44
11. IV. Gigue 3:23
12. V. Ciaccona 17:47

Sonata No. 3 In C Major, BWV 1005:
13. I. Adagio 4:55
14. II. Fuga 11:45
15. III. Largo 3:57
16. IV. Allegro Assai 4:38

Music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach

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Gergley Sarközy – Bach Suites For Lute & Harpsichord (1985)

LPFrontCover1.jpgGergely Sárközy is a Hungarian musician who plays guitar, lute, lute-harpsichord, viola bastarda, and organ. He has produced numerous recordings and has helped in the creation of animated film soundtracks including that of A nyár szemei (“The Eyes of Summer”) for which he won an Award for Best Sound Engineering together with Nikolai Ivanov Neikov at the 4th Kecskemét Animation Film Festival (by wikipedia)

Gergely Sárközy is a master of several instruments and an amateur instrument maker. He studied composition at a specialized secondary school of music and graduated from the Cello Department of the Academy of Music with a diploma for viola da gamba and cello.

Gergely Sárközy has featured on several recordings, playing medieval troubadour music with his ensemble “Fraternitas Musicorum”, Baroque chamber music, and as a member of “Camerata Hungarica”, Renaissance music. He also contributed to the records of the Bálint Bakfark Lute Trio and the Kalaka Ensemble, and performed four of Bach’s lute works on his first performer’s record, released in 1981.

His main instruments are the harpsichord, organ, cello, viola da gamba, rebec, various types of lute, koboz, classical and flamenco guitar, psaltery, bagpipe, gemshorn, Jew’s harp, xylophone and other percussion instruments. He considers that a complex variety of activities, styles and instruments results in useful cross-fertilizations that assist him in his work.

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This isn’t your average Bach recording. The lute harpsichord uses gut strings rather than wire, it has a 16 ft 2×8 and 1×4. You might thus find the sound “dull” in comparison to standard stringing. The playing is exquisite.  It is beautifully played although some might say that the embellishment obscures the lines of the lute suites. Not me. (Joseph Alfano)

Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March, 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist of the Baroque Period. His music is revered for its intellectual depth, technical command, and artistic beauty.

The lautenwerck (also spelled lautenwerk), or lute-harpsichord (lute-clavier), was a European keyboard instrument of the Baroque period. It was similar to a harpsichord, but with gut rather than metal strings, producing a mellow tone; one of Bach’s favorite keyboard instruments, which is now almost impossible to hear on record. It’s truly wonderful, with a deep, rich and resonant sound. No wonder Bach had one custom-built to his own specifications. He owned two of the instruments at the time of his death, but no specimens have survived to the present day. It was revived in the 20th century and two of its most prominent performers are the early music specialists Gergely Sárközy and Robert Hill.

This is indeed a very unique piece of music … Enjoy it !

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Personnel:
Gergley Sarközy (harpsichord, lute, lute-harpsichord)

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Tracklist:

Suite In E Minor:
01. Praeludio – Passagio – Presto 2.37
02. Allemande 2.54
03. Courante 3.02
04. Sarabande 5.19
05. Bourree 1.51
06. Gigue] 2.45

Choral Preludes From The Kirnberg Collection. ” Wer nur den lieben Gott lasst walten”:
07. BWV 690 (B) 2.03
08. BWV 691 1.51
09. BWV 690 (A) 2.07

Suite In C Minor:
10. Prelude 3.34
11. Fuga 10.55
12. Sarabande 4.27
13. Gigue 3.45
14. Double 2.10

Music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach

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The Lute-Harpsichord was  one of Bach’s favourite keyboard instruments
which is now almost impossible to hear on record.
It’s a truly wonderful instrument with a deep, rich and resonant sound.
No wonder Bach had one custom-built to his own specifications.

Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields – Bach – Orchestral Suites BMV 1066 & 1069 (1986)

FrontCover1.jpgThe four orchestral suites (called ouvertures by their author), BWV 1066–1069 are four suites by Johann Sebastian Bach. The name ouverture refers only in part to the opening movement in the style of the French overture, in which a majestic opening section in relatively slow dotted-note rhythm in duple meter is followed by a fast fugal section, then rounded off with a short recapitulation of the opening music. More broadly, the term was used in Baroque Germany for a suite of dance-pieces in French Baroque style preceded by such an ouverture. This genre was extremely popular in Germany during Bach’s day, and he showed far less interest in it than was usual: Robin Stowell writes that “Telemann’s 135 surviving examples [represent] only a fraction of those he is known to have written”; Christoph Graupner left 85; and Johann Friedrich Fasch left almost 100. Bach did write several other ouverture (suites) for solo instruments, notably the Cello Suite no. 5, BWV 1011, which also exists in the autograph Lute Suite in G minor, BWV 995, the Keyboard Partita no. 4 in D, BWV 828, and the Overture in the French style, BWV 831 for keyboard. The two keyboard works are among the few Bach published, and he prepared the lute suite for a “Monsieur Schouster,” presumably for a fee, so all three may attest to the form’s popularity.

Scholars believe that Bach did not conceive of the four orchestral suites as a set (in the way he conceived of the Brandenburg Concertos), since the sources are various, as detailed below.

The Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis catalogue includes a fifth suite, BWV 1070 in G minor. However, this work is highly unlikely to have been composed by J. S. Bach (by wikipedia)

And here are two of the four suites, performed by the Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields:

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields (ASMF) is an English chamber orchestra, based in London.

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John Churchill, then Master of Music at the London church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, and Neville Marriner (later Sir Neville) founded the orchestra as “The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields”, a small, conductorless string group. The ASMF gave its first concert on 13 November 1959, in the church after which it was named. In 1988, the orchestra dropped the hyphens from its full name.

The initial performances as a string orchestra at St Martin-in-the-Fields played a key role in the revival of baroque performances in England. The orchestra has since expanded to include winds. It remains flexible in size, changing its make-up to suit its repertoire, which ranges from the Baroque to contemporary works.

Neville Marriner continued to perform obbligatos and concertino solos with the orchestra until 1969, and led the orchestra on recordings until the autumn of 1970, when he switched to conducting from the podium from directing the orchestra from the leader’s desk. Marriner held the title of Life President until his death in 2016. On recordings, besides Marriner, Iona Brown and Kenneth Sillito have led the orchestra, among others.

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In1993 the Academy of St Martin in the Fields became the first – and to date, only – orchestra to be awarded The Queen’s Award for Export Achievement.[1]

Since 2000, Murray Perahia has held the title of Principal Guest Conductor of the orchestra, and has made commercial recordings with the orchestra as pianist and conductor.

In May 2011, the orchestra announced the appointment of Joshua Bell as its new Music Director, the second person to hold the title in the orchestra’s history, effective September 2011, with an initial contract of 3 years. In July 2017, the ASMF announced the extension of Bell’s contract through 2020, an additional three years from his previous contract extension.

Both suites were conducted by Neville Marriner:

Sir Neville Marriner and The Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields (or “Marriner and the Academy” as they became affectionately known) led the way in the stereo recording of lighter, more transparent and, quite simply, better played performances of Baroque and, later, Classical repertoire. This happy combination of circumstances provided a whole generation of music lovers with recordings which to this day have stood the test of time. It is hard to imagine a record collection anywhere in the world unblessed by Marriner and his Academy.

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Neville himself was the ideal recording artist, first leading from the violin, and later when the group enlarged, as conductor. He had himself “sprung up though the orchestra as one of the team” but remained always unpretentious and self-deprecating. But this was allied to a drive and passion that ensured standards were maintained at the highest level throughout, particularly in the recording studio. The result was that most professional orchestral musicians aspired to be in his orchestra. (by deccaclassics.com)

Listen …  and discover and enjoy the brilliant musif of Johann Sebastian Bach !

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Personnel:
Academy Of St Martin-in-the-Fields coducted by Neville Marriner
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Barry Davis (oboe)
Edward Hobart (trumpet)
William Houghton (trumpet)
Celia Nicklin (oboe)
Michael Laird (trumpet)
Nicholas Kraemer (harpischord)
Susan Leadbetter (oboe)
Graham Sheen (bassoon)

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Tracklist:

Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066:
01. Ouverture 6.20
02. II Courante 2.06
03. III Gavotte I & II 2:57
04. IV Forlane 1.59
05. V Menuet I & II 2.35
06. VI Bourrée I & II 2.33
07. VII Passepied I & II 2.21

Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069:
08. Ouvertüre 8.59
09. Bourrée I & II 3.08
20 III Gavotte 2.12
21 IV Menuet I & II 3.06
22. Réjouissance 3.08

Musi composed by Johann Sebastian Bach

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Sir Neville Marriner (15 April 1924 – 2 October 2016)

Glenn Gould – Goldberg Variationen (Bach) (1955 / 2008)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, are a work written for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach, consisting of an aria and a set of 30 variations. First published in 1741, the work is considered to be one of the most important examples of variation form. The Variations are named after Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who may have been the first performer.

Bach: The Goldberg Variations is the 1955 debut album of Canadian classical pianist Glenn Gould. An interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), the work launched Gould’s career as a renowned international pianist, and became one of the most well-known piano recordings. Sales were “astonishing” for a classical album: it was reported to have sold 40,000 copies by 1960, and had sold more than 100,000 by the time of Gould’s death in 1982. In 1981, a year before his death, Gould made a new recording of the Goldberg Variations, sales of which exceeded two million by 2000.Bach: The Goldberg Variations is the 1955 debut album of Canadian classical pianist Glenn Gould. An interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), the work launched Gould’s career as a renowned international pianist, and became one of the most well-known piano recordings. Sales were “astonishing” for a classical album: it was reported to have sold 40,000 copies by 1960, and had sold more than 100,000 by the time of Gould’s death in 1982.In 1981, a year before his death, Gould made a new recording of the Goldberg Variations, sales of which exceeded two million by 2000.
TitelPageAt the time of the first album’s release, Bach’s Goldberg Variations—a set of 30 contrapuntal variations beginning and ending with an aria—were outside the standard piano repertoire, having been recorded on the instrument only a few times before, either on small labels or unreleased. The work was considered esoteric[4] and technically demanding, requiring awkward hand crossing at times when played on a piano (these passages would be played on two manuals on a harpsichord). Gould’s album both established the Goldberg Variations within the contemporary classical repertoire and made him an internationally famous pianist nearly “overnight”. First played in concert by Gould in 1954, the composition was a staple of Gould’s performances in the years following the recording.

The recordings were made in 1955 at Columbia Records 30th Street studio in Manhattan over four days between June 10 and June 16, a few weeks after Gould signed his contract. Columbia Masterworks Records, the company’s classical music division, released the album in January 1956. Bach: The Goldberg Variations became Columbia’s bestselling classical album and earned Gould an international reputation.

The album gained attention for Gould’s unique pianistic method, which incorporated a finger technique involving great clarity of articulation (a “detached staccatissimo”), even at great speed, and little sustaining pedal. Gould’s piano teacher, Alberto Guerrero, had encouraged Gould to practice “finger tapping”, which required very slowly tapping the fingers of the playing hand with the free hand. According to Guerrero, tapping taught the pianist an economy of muscle movement that would enable precision at high speeds. Gould “tapped” each Goldberg variation before recording it, which took about 32 hours.

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The extreme tempi of the 1955 performance made for a short record, as did Gould’s decision not to play many of the repeats (each Goldberg variation consists of two parts, traditionally played in an A–A–B–B format). The length of a performance of the Goldberg Variations can therefore vary drastically: Gould’s 1955 recording is 38 minutes 34 seconds long, while his reconsidered, slower 1981 version (see below) is 51:18. By way of contrast, fellow Canadian Angela Hewitt’s 1999 record is 78:32. (by wikipedia)

Glenn Gould’s first recording for Columbia from 1955, The Goldberg Variations is still considered one of the ten most significant and successful classical recordings of all time !

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Original front + back cover

Personnel:
Gelnn Gould (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Aria 1.55
02. Variatio 1. a 1 Clav. 0.44
03. Variatio 2. a 1 Clav. 0.35
04. Variatio 3. Canone all’Unisono. a 1 Clav. 0.54
05. Variatio 4. a 1 Clav. 0.29
06. Variatio 5. a 1 ô vero 2 Clav. 0.36
07. Variatio 6. Canone alla Seconda. a 1 Clav. 0.32
08. Variatio 7. a 1 ô vero 2 Clav. al tempo di Giga 1.06
09. Variatio 8. a 2 Clav. 0.45
10. Variatio 9. Canone alla Terza. a 1 Clav. 0.37
11. Variatio 10. Fughetta. a 1 Clav. 0.41
12. Variatio 11. a 2 Clav. 0.52
13. Variatio 12 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Quarta in moto contrario 0.55
14. Variatio 13. a 2 Clav. 2.09
15. Variatio 14. a 2 Clav. 0.57
16. Variatio 15. Canone alla Quinta. a 1 Clav.: Andante 2.14
17. Variatio 16. Ouverture. a 1 Clav. 1.16
18. Variatio 17. a 2 Clav. 0.53
19. Variatio 18. Canone alla Sesta. a 1 Clav. 0.45
20. Variatio 19. a 1 Clav. 0.42
21. Variatio 20. a 2 Clav. 0.45
22. Variatio 21. Canone alla Settima 1.42
23. Variatio 22. a 1 Clav. alla breve 0.42
24. Variatio 23. a 2 Clav. 0.53
25. Variatio 24. Canone all’Ottava. a 1 Clav. 0.56
26. Variatio 25. a 2 Clav. adagio [The Black Pearl] 6.27
27. Variatio 26. a 2 Clav. 0.51
28. Variatio 27. Canone alla Nona. a 2 Clav. 0.48
29. Variatio 28. a 2 Clav. 1.10
30. Variatio 29. a 1 ô vero 2 Clav. 0.59
31. Variatio 30. a 1 Clav. Quodlibet 0.46
32. Aria da capo 2.12

Music written by Johann Sebastian Bach

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