April 2015

Vivaldi: L’Estro Armonico

Any new recording of L'Estro Armonico is most welcome! There simply is not a weak piece among the 12 concertos for one, two or four violins, with or without obbligato cello and continuo – truly, it is a virtuosic display of Vivaldi's talent, both as composer and as performer; [...]

Coronation Music for Charles II

This is a triumph of style over substance. It must have seemed a good idea to put together a programme reconstructing the coronation of Charles II in Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1661, packaging it with the glamorous painting of the enthroned king in his coronation robes. But someone needs to have done their homework properly [...]

Telemann: Festive Cantatas

The three works here (all in world modern premiere recordings) come from the cycle that Telemann published for 1748–49, the so-called "Engel-Jahrgang" to texts by Erdmann Neumeister, all following a five-movement pattern: chorus, aria, recitative, aria and chorus/chorale. [...]

Colonna: L’Assalone: oratorio per 5 voci

Assalone was one of no fewer than four oratorios which were performed at the Modena court of Francesco II d'Este in 1684 – Colonna's setting of the story of Judith was among the others. Francesco Lora (who edited the music) writes an illuminating note, not only on the work in question but also about the political importance of oratorio performances in Modena. [...]

Kuhnau: Complete Sacred Works I

Like many composers of his generation (as well as the one following), Johann Kuhnau has long languished in the shadow cast by the giant who is Johann Sebastian Bach. A valiant effort by The King's Consort to rectify that situation sadly came to an end, but this new releases shows that there is hope. [...]

Ich hebe meine Augen auf: Telemann, Heinichen & Graupner in Leipzig

The title of the disc is a slight misnomer - although Graupner, like Heinichen and Telemann, studied in Leipzig and participated in the city's rich musical life, his impressive setting of Georg Christian Lehms' Vergnügte Ruh was written in 1711, i. e. the year after he was "headhunted" to take charge of music at the court of Hessen-Darmstadt. [...]

Le Masque de Fer

"The Man in the Iron Mask" has been the subject of books, films and much speculation about his identity. He may just have been a valet but there have been claims that he was an illegitimate half-brother of Louis XIV, a disgraced French general or an Italian diplomat. [...]

Handel: Rodelinda

This DVD is hardly worth listening to, let alone seeing. The speeds are dull – to take for example the overture (where was the minuet?), the largo was andante-larghetto; the allegro was andante. The tempi continue in such fashion [...]
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