Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Michelangelo Falvetti (1642-1692) - Il Diluvio Universale

Concert from the Ambronay Festival 11th September 2010
Cappella Mediterranea
Namur Chamber Choir
conductor: Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Production: RTBF Belgium
Duration: 01:22:11

A redemptive flood for Messina - here is a rare baroque testament to this city in Sicily which has experienced many earthquakes and tidal waves. An emblematic subject: the Four Elements plead with God to destroy mankind; Death intercedes in man's favour; mankind will "only" be subjected to the flood and will ultimately be saved from the waters.

In the tradition of Carissimi and Handel, this highly original music is of a measure with Sicily, melting-pot where the music of East and West come together. There can be no better interpreter than Leonardo Garcia Alarcon to bring out its intensity and emotion.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Magdalena Kozená: Lettere Amorose

Magdalena Kozená (mezzo soprano)
Private Musicke, Pierre Pitzl
Magdalena Kožená explores the early Italian Baroque music of Monteverdi and his contemporaries with rewarding results. Inspired by the improvisational nature of much of this music, Kožená reveals yet another aspect of her musical personality.
Teamed with the six string-instrumentalists and percussion of the acclaimed consort group Private Musicke, Magdalena Kožená delivers an album in a fascinatingly different setting from any of her previous Baroque recordings.
In music ranging from simple lamento to rollicking dance tunes, Magdalena Kožená unleashes her refined vocal and expressive abilities to convey every nuance implicit in the music and the texts.

Scheduled for release on 4 October 2010.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Gemma Bertagnoli et Fabio Biondi interprètent Vivaldi au festival d'Ambronay

Durée: 01:57:11

Vivica Genaux est remplacé pour ce concert par Gemma Bertagnoli. 

Au programme, grands airs virtuoses d'opéras de Vivaldi, Concerto pour violon n°8 & 11 et ouverture de la Symphonie Ercole sul Tormodonte de Vivaldi.

Alison Balsom - Italian Concertos - Scottish Ensemble

Release Date: 18th October 2010

"Occasionally a player comes along who turns all the preconceived ideas about their instrument on their head, and reinvents the repertoire. … Alison Balsom is a virtuoso player and a natural, gifted communicator, but what really comes across is her sheer exuberance and joy in making music." Classic FM Magazine

Faire chanter la trompette : voilà l’ambition d’Alison Balsom. La jeune musicienne anglaise (sortie il n’y a pas si longtemps que ça de la Guildhall School of Music de Londres et du Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris) n’a pas tardé à se distinguer dans le cercle très fermé des grands trompettistes, d’habitude réservé aux interprètes masculins. Elle n’a pas seulement imposé sa virtuosité époustouflante et la riche sonorité de son jeu, elle a surtout prouvé que son instrument peut s’adapter à tous les registres, du plus brillant au plus mélancolique, du plus virtuose au plus intime. Le programme de cet enregistrement cent pour cent italien le prouve : dans ces concertos de Vivaldi, de Marcello ou de Tartini, la trompette remplace le violon ou le hautbois sans que la musique perde sa qualité mélodique ni sa chaleur expressive.

La presse est unanime : un vent nouveau souffle sur le monde masculin de la trompette. « Alison Balsom douée d'une remarquable justesse survole avec un phrasé exemplaire des oeuvres qui appartenaient jusque là à des interprètes masculins...Une réalisation digne de tous les suffrages... des interprétations assez spectaculaires et stylistiquement parfaites... » Classica à propos de son CD Hummel Haydn « Alison Balsom fait chanter la trompette avec une exubérance et une éloquence irrésistibles» The Times C'est devant un public stupéfait qu'Alison Balsom a fait ses premiers pas parisiens lors de 2 concerts mémorables Salle Pleyel en juin 2009. Le public blasé des concerts parisiens vit entrer sur scène une superbe jeune femme anglaise, grande et blonde, qui emboucha avec détermination...une trompette de laquelle sortirent des sons glorieux liés par un phrasé impeccable. Le triomphe fut à la hauteur de la surprise, c'est-à-dire absolu. Depuis 2 ans, l'Europe raffole de ce qu'elle voit et entend. La France s'apprête à accueillir de nouveau Alison Balsom en juin prochain dans le cadre du prestigieux Festival de Saint Denis. Même Le Monde s'est fendu d'un sujet élogieux sur l'artiste en 2009. L'émission spéciale que lui consacra ARTE en février 2010 relança immédiatement les ventes de son premier album consacré à Hummel et Haydn. Aujourd'hui paraît son nouvel album consacré à un florilège de concertos baroques italiens, dans lesquels on retrouve des oeuvres célèbres de Vivaldi, Tartini ou Albinoni, originales ou transcrites par Alison Balsom. Un enregistrement lumineux, dans lequel l'artiste fait éclater la musicalité ensoleillée du baroque italien.

'She makes the trumpet sing with an irresistible exuberance and eloquence.' With the human voice a particular inspiration in the music of Italy, the words of The Times have a special resonance for Alison Balsom in these works composed or inspired by Italian composers of the 18th century. This collection provides an apt vehicle for the award-winning trumpeter's characteristic brilliance and grace.

Following the popular and critical international success of her Haydn and Hummel concertos recording, Alison Balsom has recorded a programme of Italian Baroque concertos. The album has quickly garnered critics’ praise: “The fast movements are played with sparkling ease and technical brilliance. The slow movement [Balsom] forms delicately, tenderly, yet without denying she’s playing a brass instrument.” - MDR Figaro

After the release of Caprice in 2006, Gramophone wrote, “It's not often that a young musician appears on the scene abundantly blessed with everything both an A&R and marketing person could dream of, but the young British trumpeter Alison Balsom fulfils just such a dream. She's a musician of prodigious talent with an inquisitive, fresh approach to music-making. She is connected to her public, and rewards their attention with playing of a winning ease and fluency. She has an engaging personality … and the intelligence to take her burgeoning career well in her stride.” In this new recording, Balsom, the 2009 Classical BRIT Artist of the Year, plays popular concertos originally composed for the violin or oboe by Vivaldi, Tartini, B. Marcello, Albinoni and Cimarosa, accompanied by the Scottish Ensemble.

“The days are long gone when blowing a brass instrument was a male preserve. Even so, the young trumpeter Alison Balsom remains a singular figure. It’s not that she's long and blonde; it's the roar of her talent that makes her stand out, along with her knack for breaking down barriers and making the trumpet so much more than a toot machine.” The Times

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Friday, 17 September 2010

Stile Antico - Puer natus est

Puer natus est

Tudor Music for Advent & Christmas

Stile Antico
Release Date: 20 September 2010

Stile Antico’s newest programme centres on Tallis’ magnificent 7-part ‘Christmas’ Mass, based on the festive plainchant Puer natus est, in a new edition prepared by Sally Dunkley. The mass is interspersed with seasonal Tudor music, including Byrd’s exquisite Propers for the fourth Sunday of Advent, responsories by Taverner and Sheppard, Robert White’s exuberant setting of the Magnificat, and Tallis’ own sublime Videte miraculum.
Matthew O’Donovan’s booklet note cannot be bettered in terms of historical context, analysis and relevance. Stile Antico is much in demand in concert, performing regularly throughout Europe and North America in repertoire ranging from English Tudor composers to the Flemish and Spanish schools and early Baroque. Their recordings on the harmonia mundi label have enjoyed huge success, and their release Song of Songs won the 2009 Gramophone Award for Early Music.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Ignaz Pleyel - Clarinet Concertos 1&2 + Sinfonia Concertante

Ignaz Pleyel - Clarinet Concertos 1&2 + Sinfonia Concertante 
CPO | Recorded: 2007 | Released: 2008
Dieter Klöcker, Sandra Arnold - Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim / Sebastian Tewinkel

The resurgence of interest in music of the Baroque and Classical eras and the formation of now almost countless ensembles performing music from those periods on historical instruments have fostered renewed curiosity in the musical unknown. In some cases, the result of this has evolved into a situation where the details of the interpretation surpass the music being performed, but there is a more practical aspect to this evolution: the establishment of organizations whose purpose is to foster interest in the music of Haydn and Mozart's contemporaries, some of whom include Franz Hoffmeister, Antonio Rosetti, and Antonio Salieri.

The enthusiasm of these organizations has resulted in numerous scores, recordings, and concerts that further the cause of these societies. Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831) is no exception to the trend. Music history has pronounced an indefinite judgment on this student of Haydn and colleague and friend of Mozart. While some of Pleyel's music is available on disc, we have yet to scratch the surface of his output, preferring to remember Pleyel by his later endeavors as a music publisher and manufacturer of pianos. Some posit that there was no room in the inn for the likes of Pleyel during the 19th century, and the unavoidable stylistic assignment of his work to the cubbyhole of Viennese classicism was the expected consequence, but others counter with the statement that the language of the greats did not always or accurately reflect the entire spectrum of musical life.
But this pupil of Haydn earned his stripes and was the recipient of high praise during his lifetime. The high point of his career came in 1791 and 1792 when an invitation from a London concert organization--the Professional Concerts¬--brought him to the English capital, where he was to be installed as a sort of rival to his former teacher who was also in London and performing as a part of the Salomon Concerts. In order to diffuse any bad feelings between the two, the pupil sought out the teacher shortly after the former's arrival on the sceptered isle and strengthened their friendship. The result was that the two were frequently seen together and even attended each other's concerts, thereby refusing to be set one against the other.

Pleyel's widespread reputation as a gifted composer abounds in contemporary reports and correspondence from his colleagues, and his fame even reached the eastern shore of the young United States. The small town of Nantucket, Massachusetts, then still a whaling port, formed a Pleyel Society in 1822 "to chasten the taste of auditors," according to a notice in a newspaper. But the most significant evidence of the appeal of Pleyel's music lies in the thousands of manuscript copies that filled the shelves of archives, libraries, churches, castles, and private homes, and in the thousands of editions produced in Europe and North America. In quality the works vary greatly, although most show considerable ability and a thorough knowledge of his chosen profession. The music on this late 2008 release from cpo not only attests to Pleyel's effective and facile skill as a composer, but it also supports Mozart's deep respect and admiration for his colleague.

The first of the two concertos on this release was originally notated in C Major and published in an edition indicating it could be performed on clarinet (in C), flute, violin, or cello. This was because it was the easiest tonality for all three instruments. Pleyel ignored the trend to write for the B♭ clarinet and to write in either B♭ or E♭ major. However Dieter Klöcker transposed the Concerto to B♭ Major, allowing him to perform it on the more traditional instrument in B♭ and therefore to avoid the higher pitched and more piercing timbre of the C clarinet. The Second Concerto, while presented in its original key, also represents an effort to reach a broader market in that the cello is suggested as an alternate solo instrument. As for the Sinfonia concertante, it may be a reworking of previous and lost material for a concert series in Paris.

In my estimation, Dieter Klöcker has never made a bad recording and--with very few exceptions¬--he has¬ been consistent in introducing music-lovers to much unjustly neglected repertoire. These well-written and challenging Pleyel concertos are no exception. The technical and expressive demands are confidently confronted and easily conquered by Klöcker, whose technique is both fluid and fluent, whose melodic expressiveness leaves nothing to be desired, and whose tone is rich and woody throughout. The playing of the Southwest German Chamber Orchestra is confident, assertive, and precise with appropriate panache and energy.

Overall, this is another revelatory release and yet another winner for cpo and Klöcker.

MU link

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Who was Cardinal Newman?

His Holiness the Pope arrives in Edinburgh on Thursday for the first ever state visit by a reigning pontiff, the culmination of which will be the beatification of John Henry Newman, an Anglican cleric and later Catholic convert and cardinal. What do you know about him? Not a lot? Fear not, I direct you to the excellent site
which contains all of his major writings and sermons. Highly recommended reading; no less a personage than James Joyce called him the greatest prose writer in the English language. Judge for yourself. I leave you with the words of the great Dubliner himself:-

"...nobody has ever written English prose that can be compared with that of a tiresome footling little Anglican parson who afterwards became a prince of the only true church..."

"silver-veined prose"

"I have read him a great deal... [in the 'Oxen of the Sun' chapter of Ulysses] where all the other authors are parodied, Newman alone is rendered pure, in the grave beauty of his style. Besides, I needed that fulcrum to hold up the rest... The Church will surely decide to make a saint of him, if only for the numerous conversions that have followed in the wake of his own. At least a Blessed, if they don't succeed in finding a miracle." 

Monday, 13 September 2010

Raphael's tapestries in London ahead of Pope's visit

Priceless tapestries, designed by the Renaissance artist Raphael, have arrived at the Victoria and Albert Museum ahead of Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK.
The tapestries, which have graced the Sistine Chapel for nearly 500 years, have been reunited with Raphael's original designs - owned by the Queen.

Alessandro MELANI (1639-1703) - Mottetti - Concerto Italiano - Rinaldo Alessandrini

Melani (born in Pistoia, 1639, died in Rome, 1703) spent much of his career as maestro di cappella of various churches and cathedrals, including the basilica Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. From 1672, he was placed in charge of the Salve, the Borghese family’s private cappella inside the basilica, combining it with a position at the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. The music that he wrote for the Borghese musical establishment - some 54 compositions are held in the Santa Maria Maggiore archive - includes numerous settings of Marian antiphons, among them two of the pieces on this CD, the Litany of the Blessed Virgin (for nine voices, the forces available to the Salve) and the Ave Regina coelorum. Under Rinaldo Alessandrini’s directorship, Concerto Italiano’s revelatory interpretations have revolutionised our perception of 17th and 18th century Italian music (the group’s groundbreaking recordings of Monteverdi’s madrigals have achieved benchmark status), establishing it as the finest ensemble of its kind in Italy today. This new release will be granted the most prestigious French press award, Diapason d'or, in September.

Rapidshare links:-