Flow my tears: Songs for lute, viol and voice

This is a recording of a concert from July 2013; this time it’s lute songs, which Davies sings beautifully and intelligently, as ever. I’m not going to bang on about countertenors and downward- transposed lute songs, and whether or not this a historical practice, yet again. [...]

A painted tale

The young American tenor Nicholas Phan has rightly attracted praise for his performances of Britten, with whose music he identifies. It is very noticeable that he has welcomed on board many elements of Pears’ style, notably the latter’s use (particularly in his later years) of acciaccatura – launching up to a higher note from the lower one, like a mini trampoline in front of a vaulting horse. [...]

Cavalieri: Rappresentatione di Anima & di Corpo

What price progress in the early music world? This new version of Emilio de Cavalieri’s seminal sacred opera falls both as to concept and performance a million miles short of Andrew Parrott’s 1988 recording of the 1589 Florentine intermedi. That famous entertainment was, of course, organised by Cavalieri, who also contributed music to it. [...]

Mozart · Mendelssohn

Chiaroscuro is a period instrument quartet that is not frightened of its pianissimos. So many ensembles pay little attention to the full range of dynamics that are available on their instruments. [...]

Leo: Recorder Sonatas

The Neapolitan composer Leonardo Leo (1694-1744) is best known for his sacred music and for operas both comic and serious, but seven sonatas for recorder and continuo by him survive in a manuscript from the collection of the Austrian Harrach family. [...]

Pavans and Fantasies from the Age of Dowland

Programming John Dowland’s seven ‘Lachrimae’ pavans in concert or on CD is always a problem. Should they be played as a single sequence or be interspersed with contrasted pieces? They are often grouped in suites with other pieces from the 1604 Lachrimae collection, despite Dowland apparently wanting to avoid conventional pavan-galliard pairs. [...]

I musicisti dell’imperatore

The title of this recording is something of a marketing ploy – yes, Piani was one of the most highly paid musicians in Vienna but the violin sonatas on the disc were published in Paris before he was employed by the Habsburgs; Alessandro Scarlatti and Vivaldi's connection was as composer to a particular residence, but how many times did they actually encounter the emperor? [...]

En Suite

This is a marvellous disc. The pairing of theorbo and bass viol is a potent one, sometimes played separately (de Visée, Ste Colombe) sometimes together (Marais). Romina Lischke is a pupil of Paolo Pandolfo and Philippe Pierlot, and she clearly shares with them a very attractive impulsiveness, and a brilliant technique. [...]

Hoffmann: Symphony, Overtures Witt Sinfonia in A

Sandwiched between two lively symphonies, each equally deserving of a place in the repertoire of most orchestras looking to explore the music of Beethoven's contem-poraries, are the overtures to Hoffmann's Undine and Aurora, considered by many as the first Romantic operas in German. [...]
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