Venice to Hamburg

The Bach Players
Hyphen Press Music 009
Music by Böddecker, Froberger, Marini, Schmelzer, Valentini & Weckmann

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Bach Players take us on a fascinating tour of the back streets and byways of Baroque music in this engaging CD, although as the note points out the prevailing view of the Baroque as a period of secondary composers from whom steps now and again a giant like Handel, Vivaldi or J. S. Bach is long overdue reconsideration. In their signature uncompromising performance style combining considerable musicality and virtuosity, the six instrumentalists give us the best of Giovanni Valentini, Froberger, Schmelzer, Weckmann and Marini, composers some of whose music I had already heard as well as Philipp Friedrich Böddecker of whom I haven’t knowingly heard at all. The performers take advantage of a crystal clear recording to pour energy and life into these works, which may be regarded as ‘mainstream Baroque’ but which in the hands of The Baroque Players truly spring to life. I was particularly delighted by the radiant tone of the dulcian and the cornettino, but all of the instruments are played and captured in their full radiance. It seems that like programme planners drawing on later repertoire, devisers of Baroque programmes are all too often dazzled by the big names into neglecting the Frobergers and Marinis of this world, and this CD serves as a useful antidote to this. We have all we need here – excellent performances, vividly recorded, full and detailed programme notes and a bright cover to catch the eye!

D. James Ross

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