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r.b. (U.K.)

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J.S. Bach: Violin Concertos - Dunedin Consort (Hybrid SACD, plays on all cd players.)
J.S. Bach: Violin Concertos - Dunedin Consort (Hybrid SACD, plays on all cd players.)
Price: £13.67

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JS BACH - violin concertos, 18 Mar. 2016
Having owned so many recording's of JS Bach's violin concertos on period instruments I wondered if I really needed yet another.The market place is already saturated with performances of these timeless works and so any newcomer must be truly exceptional.So how does the Dunedin Consort fair in all of this against some very stiff competition? - Magically!!! Directed from the harpsichord by John Butt,I knew that a solid account was assured but I was captivated by lead violinist Cecilia Bernardini's playing.She is flawless throughout including the famous double concerto BWV 1043,in which she is partnered by Huw Daniel (also terrific) and the are sublime in the beautiful slow movement that is paced perfectly.In the reconstructed concerto for violin and oboe BWV 1060a Cecilia's well known father Alfredo joins her and the result is superb with lot's of musical dialogue.The performance's are immaculate in the 2 surviving solo concertos as well ( BWV 1041 and BWV 1042 respectively) and the whole thing is supported by first class sound engineering.

To sum up,this is now my first choice recommendation for Bach's violin concertos on period instruments.My previous favourites - Bach Collegium Japan and Brecon Baroque are still great but if forced to choose only 1 version,then the Dunedin Consort would be my desert island pick.


Sachsen-Weimar:Violn Concertos [Anne Schumann; Ensemble 'Fuersten Musik', Sebastian Knebel] [CPO: 777998-2]
Sachsen-Weimar:Violn Concertos [Anne Schumann; Ensemble 'Fuersten Musik', Sebastian Knebel] [CPO: 777998-2]
Price: £15.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JOHANN ERNST VON SACHSEN WEIMAR - violin concertos, 4 Feb. 2016
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Prince Johann Ernst of Sachsen - Weimar tragically died aged only 18 years old.He was not only a well educated young man but also musically gifted and fortunately he composed 8 violin concertos before his untimely passing.His connection with JS Bach is rather well known (the prince was Bach's patron in Weimar) and had he have lived to full maturity one can only wonder how many more good compositions would have flowed from his pen.

This is Ensemble Fursten Musik's debut recording and what a terrific start indeed.Directed from the lead violin by Anne Schumann who is very well experienced in authentic period practice,the performances are first rate and backed with excellent sound.They are helped of course by young Johann Ernst's attractive scores and anyone interested in Baroque string concertos that have a Vivaldian influence need not hesitate in acquiring this recording.

I hope that Fursten Musik explore other neglected Baroque string concertos that are still awaiting documentation to disc and hats off to them for this premier recording.


Vanhal: Symphonies
Vanhal: Symphonies
Price: £4.69

4.0 out of 5 stars VANHAL -Symphonies., 17 Jan. 2016
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This review is from: Vanhal: Symphonies (Audio CD)
Czech born composer,Jan Vanhal made his career in Vienna,a city that musically flourished during the 2nd half of the 18th century.He was without question a highly gifted musician who excelled in the composition of the symphony and his efforts during the late 1760's and 1770's are every bit the equal of those from Haydn.Vanhal left 51 published symphonies and many others survive in manuscript.He is often referred to as one of the finest "sturm und drang" composers and this is indeed true together with the likes of CPE Bach,Franz Beck and Joseph Haydn.

The quality of Vanhal's symphonies deserve a far better discography (on period instruments) than is currently available,therefore this 1996 recording from Concerto Koln is all the more welcolme.The playing is technically excellent,the sound is superb and they observe the correct and historically accurate use of harpsichord continuo which we know was standard practice and widespread during the 1770's when the vast majority of Vanhal's symphonies were penned.

The only slight drawback for me about this recording is that the faster movements are occasionally just a little too hard throttled and driven although it can of course be argued that this intensity is essential to "sturm und drang".However if you listen to Trevor Pinnock's English Concert recording of Haydn's same period symphonies,the tempos are very lively but not pressed too hard and therefore strike a perfect blend of zest and sensibility,something that the Concerto Koln performances just miss and tend to be a shade overly dramatic.

Never the less this CD can be recommended to all lovers of 18th century orchestral music because Vanhal's compositions of the period yield to nobody and i can only hope that further period instrument groups begin to commit a much more comprehensive account of his symphonies to disc - They most certainly merit it !!!!!.


Locatelli: Concerti Grossi
Locatelli: Concerti Grossi
Price: £18.43

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOCATELLI - complete concerti grossi - (op 1,4 and 7), 14 Nov. 2015
Pietro Locatelli was without a doubt one of the greatest violin virtuoso's of the 18th century.This is of course common knowledge to all enthusiasts of Baroque music and it's his op 3 (L'arte del Violino) for which he is justly famous in this respect.Published in 1733 this collection of 12 concerti with passages for solo violin pyrotechnics displays Locatelli's complete mastery of his instrument and how he must have absolutely dazzled audiences with his playing.However his op 3 collection is NOT his finest music to actually listen too and for that you must turn to his op 1 (12 concerti grossi) published in 1721.In this publication you will not only find Locatelli's very best music but one of the finest sets of concertos composed during the late Baroque and ONLY just behind those of Corelli (op 6),Vivaldi (op 3) and Handel (op 6).

It's been suggested that Locatelli studied with the great Arcangelo Corelli but this is very unlikely.When Locatelli arrived in Rome in 1712,Corelli was already a very ill man and would die soon after,therefore it's most probable that he actually studied with Giuseppe Valentini who was a pupil of Corelli and had fairly recently published his own set of "concerti grossi" in 1710 as his op 7. Valentini's music is more experimental and harmonically daring than his teacher Corelli,something that can also be found in Locatelli's op1 although it must be said that Locatelli's set is without question far superior to Valentini's.

Also included in this 6 cd set is Locatelli's other 2 sets of concerti grossi - his op 4 (1735) and op 7 (1741) which are very fine but no match for his excellent op 1.The performances by violinist Igor Ruhadze and his period instrument group Violini Capricciosi are first class throughout and bring plenty of zest to the music without overcooking the tempos.They are a terrific ensemble having now recorded ALL of Locatelli's published works and in the process have received glowing reviews.

No lover of Baroque music should miss these superb performances and the recording quality is very good indeed.I would now like to see Igor Ruhadze and his ensemble turn their attention to other unjustly overlooked string concertos such as Pietro Castrucci's op 3,Giuseppe Sammartini's op 2,Giovanni Mossi's op 2,3,4 and British composer John Hebden's op 2 .
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 19, 2016 3:36 PM GMT


Beck:Symphonies Op. 2 [Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra; Kevin Mallon] [NAXOS: 8573323]
Beck:Symphonies Op. 2 [Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra; Kevin Mallon] [NAXOS: 8573323]
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Franz Beck - symphonies op 2, 5 July 2015
Franz Beck was the most musically adventurous and gifted of the so called Mannheim school.Although a pupil of Johann Stamitz,Beck very quickly established a more progressive and harmonically daring style of composition that set him apart from his colleagues.His op 1 was published in 1758 and demonstrates that even at the age of just 24,Beck was full of creative ideas that in my view only CPE Bach (who was 20 years his senior) could rival.Just 2 years later Beck issued his op 2 and that is what's performed on this disc by the Thirteen strings chamber orchestra and conducted by the reliable Kevin Mallon.

As regards performance there is nothing to complain about and the sound is terrific,alas it's the actual quality of the score that is the let down here which came as a surprise because Beck's other symphonies (op 1,3,and 4) are full of creativity.With op 2 Beck seemed rather lost for ideas and there is very little to hold ones attention generally speaking and thus may be considered something of a blip from the pen of an otherwise very interesting composer.

After the lacklustre op 2 Franz Beck would return to form with op 3 and the still rather fine op 4.I suppose even a gifted composer like Beck couldn't deliver the goods ALL of the time.


Haydn: The 'Sturm und Drang' Symphonies (DG Collectors Edition)
Haydn: The 'Sturm und Drang' Symphonies (DG Collectors Edition)
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Haydn - sturm und drang symphonies, 25 May 2015
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Nothing much to say about this 6 cd set that hasn't already been said.The performances by Trevor Pinnock's English Concert are simply outstanding and will delight any lover of 18th century orchestral music in general.Although some believe the late London symphonies to be the summit of Haydn's creativity I personally disagree with that.In my view Haydn was at the peak of his symphonic writing from the late 1760's to the mid 1780's - basically from the sturm und drang period up to and including the Paris symphonies.The sturm und drang period as referenced by this terrific box set offered turbulent,dramatic music that is full of bold harmonic shifts of which CPE Bach,Franz Beck,Jan Vanhal and Joseph Haydn are it's best representatives.

These recording's were made in 1988/89 during what many feel to be the English Concert's golden era (c 1979 - early 1990's) and the sound engineering from DG is exemplary.


Muthel:5 Keyboard Concertos [Marcin witkiewicz; Arte de Suonatori] [BIS: BIS2179]
Muthel:5 Keyboard Concertos [Marcin witkiewicz; Arte de Suonatori] [BIS: BIS2179]
Price: £27.77

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JG MUTHEL - harpsichord concertos, 5 April 2015
Johann Gottfried Muthel was the last pupil of JS Bach having studied with the great master for the final 3 months of his life.During 1751 - 1752 Muthel traveled to Berlin and met CPE Bach with whom he struck up a rapport and lifelong friendship.In 1753 he moved to Riga where he would remain for the rest of his life becoming musical director of the city's small orchestra and organist of St Peter's church.The opportunity to become familiar with CPE Bach's style of composition must have been a big influence on Muthel as this can clearly be detected in his own works such as the 5 harpsichord concertos on this recording.

As regards musical style Muthel represents the transitional period between the Baroque and Classical eras much like other Germanic composers such as W F Bach,C P E Bach,G.A Benda,.F X Richter and C S Binder.This period from around 1750-1775 is finally attracting the attention of the recording companies more and more and deservedly so as there were many musical gems written during this time.The concertos in c minor,D major and G major appear to be the earlier compositions whereas the 2 concertos that were published in 1767 namely the ones in B flat major and d minor are very sturm und drang in manner.

Arte dei Sounatori are an excellent period ensemble from Poland that have already released some terrific recordings so far including a brilliant account of Handel's op 6.They are joined for the present recording by the young harpsichord virtuoso Marcin Swiatkiewicz who incidentally is also a member of Rachel Podger's Brecon Baroque.The performances are superb and faithfully convey how Muthel's compositions would have been heard in Riga and throughout Europe with tempos that are sprightly but not hurried and full credit to the sound engineers for the vivid audio.

The two concertos in d minor and B flat major are not only the best compositions but also the most technically demanding - it's obvious that Muthel must have been a real keyboard virtuoso himself as well as a fine composer,something this 2 cd set will help to reaffirm.

I do hope that Marcin Swiatkiewicz has plans to record many more sturm und drang harpsichord concertos including those of CPE Bach,FX Richter, EW Wolf and others of similar style.


Well-Tempered Clavier, Bk 2 [Luc Beauséjour] [NAXOS: 8570564-65]
Well-Tempered Clavier, Bk 2 [Luc Beauséjour] [NAXOS: 8570564-65]
Price: £12.41

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JS Bach - well tempered clavier, book 2, 9 Jan. 2015
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The very first review i issued on Amazon was back in 2007 and it was Luc Beausejour's performance of JS Bach's well tempered clavier book 1.I gave it 5 stars and remarked that is was the finest account of the work that I'd heard and despite the passage of time my view has not changed one jot.I also said that i very much looked forward to his account of book 2 - well 8 years later finally it's here.Book 2 of the well tempered clavier follows the same pattern as book 1 however it's arguably more difficult to interpret for the performer.Nevertheless i expected a harpsichordist of Luc Beausejour's standing and experience to deliver the goods and this is exactly what he has done.

The performance is typical of what this distinguished musician has given us over the years,straightforward,no mannerisms,elegant and with very good tempo judgments.Every harpsichordist worth their salt will attempt a recording of the complete well tempered clavier as it is without a doubt one of the pillars of keyboard repertoire and if you want a more radical version with fast tempi then this may not be for you however if you are looking for a solid and sensible version of this towering music then look no further.

Luc Beausejour can be relied upon to interpret Baroque music in a mature and faithful manner and i now hope he proceeds to record JS Bach's 6 partitas,English and French suites.


Duphly: Complete Pieces De Clavecin
Duphly: Complete Pieces De Clavecin
Price: £13.98

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jacques Duphly - complete harpsichord music, 19 Dec. 2014
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Jacques Duphly is rightly regarded as the last great composer of French harpsichord music.He published 4 volumes in total starting with book 1 (1744 ) which is clearly influenced by Couperin and it includes the popular suite in D.Book 2 was published in 1748 and displays much of the same characteristics however the influence of Rameau is apparent in this collection and Duphly delights with more virtuosic writing as in the opening of La Victoire,yet never sacrificing musical quality - It is also evident that with book 2,Duphly was growing in confidence as a composer.By the time he published book 3 in 1756 Duphly was at the shining zenith of his compositional powers and it's this collection that contains much of his finest music but alas this was the last volume of excellent harpsichord music that was printed in France.By the time of Book 4 (1768) Duphly had abandoned the Baroque and Roccoco style,instead favoring the then newer classical writing which was becoming fashionable - It's a half hearted effort by him at best and clearly he was short of ideas by this time.

This 4 cd set by well respected harpsichordist Pieter Jan Belder is an essential purchase for the marvelous performances of books 1,2 and 3 which is dispatched with his customary brilliance of technique,sensible tempos and firm grasp of French style,applying trills and ornamentation effectively.

This is a well recorded release that includes thoroughly enjoyable music.Jacques Duphly came at the end of the harpsichords great reign in France and although he carried on the tradition of Couperin and Rameau he was,on his own merits,a very gifted composer.Perhaps he should have bowed out with book 3 and really went out on high.


C.P.E. Bach: Keyboard Symphonies
C.P.E. Bach: Keyboard Symphonies
Price: £8.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CPE BACH - symphonies for harpsichord, 24 May 2014
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Most lovers of CPE Bach's music are familiar with his string symphonies (WQ 182) composed between 1768-1773 during his Hamburg period but what we have here on this recording are 4 of his earlier Berlin symphonies dating between 1741-1762.Instead of the orchestral performances usually heard of these compositions,Andrea Chezzi has decided to perform them in their transcriptions for solo harpsichord and what an incredible achievement!!! Not only does Mr Chezzi play technically brilliant but also manages to convey an almost orchestral colour of the music despite the limitations of performing on the harpsichord which is an amazing feat.It hardly needs to be said that the music itself is of very good quality and worth every penny of it's modest cost.

I would love to hear more from Andrea Chezzi playing 18th century orchestral music on the harpsichord.Perhaps a recording of Handel's water music or his op 3 concertos would be a terrific next release.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 6, 2014 10:15 PM BST


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