They didn't carry coals to Newcastle, but music from the Codex Cyprus to Cyprus: as part of the programme of the European Cultural Capital, Pafos2017, ensemble Per-Sonat, directed by Sabine Lutzenberger presented on 18 April their programme Mer amère. This programme focusses on the cultural exchange between France and Cyprus in 15th century, which manifested above all in the Codex Cyprus, one of the very few music manuscripts handed down to us from the island.
The concert with Sabine Lutzenberger, Tobie Miller, Liz Rumsey and Baptiste Romain in the Ayia Kyriaki church in Pafos was a huge success, as this music is still rather unknown in Cyprus.
Listen here to a piece from this programme, the anonymous Je vous suppli tres dousse rose from Codex Cyprus:
Phantasm in Eszterhazy castle
A stylish ambiance, an easterly programme: On Easter Sunday, 16 April, violconsort Phantasm under direction of Laurence Dreyfus gave its first concert in Eszterhazy Castle in Hungarian Fertöd.
In the Haydn-hall of this magnificent building the four viol players performed their new programme In Nomine, which demonstrates, how composers like Christopher Tye, William Byrd or Thomas Tallis up to J.S. Bach and W.A. Mozart transformed their spirituality and religiosity in music.
zeigt, wie Komponisten verschiedener Jahrhunderte ihre Spiritualität und Religiosität in Musik gossen.
Here you can enjoy a piece from the programme, William Byrd's Sermone Blando:
Splendorous cooperation: Per-Sonat and Concerto Palatino
Music by Heinrich Isaak, Ludwig Senfl and Orlando di Lasso was on the programme, which the ensembles Per-Sonat and Concerto Palatino played together in their first common project, on 9 April in the beautiful Baroque Hofkirche in Innsbruck. Five wonderful singers, five splendorous winds - and a fantastic cross section of vocal music of the late Renaissacne: that was purest pleasure to listen to!
The concert under the title O you poor Judas took place in the framework of the Osterfestival Hall in Tirol, which entirely focused on the biblical persona of Judas this year.
The 450th birthday of Claudio Monteverdi inspired soprano Hana Blažíková to dedicate herself this year particularly to his works, and so are the female chief parts of Monteverdi's three operas, Orfeo, Poppea and Il ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria inscribed in her agenda for 2017: from April until October, from the easterfestival Aix-en-Provence, to the Opéra de Paris, Teatro la Fenice in Venice, the festivals in Berlin, Luzern, Edinburgh and Salzburg, the Harris Theatre Chicago till the Lincoln Center New York and several other venues.
In this Hana participates at the Monteverdi 450-tour of John Eliot Gardiners, who's directing all these semi-staged performances with his Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra .
But you can also experience these operas at full length if you don't want to visit one of the performances: they were recorded by Ozango at beautiful teatro La Fenice in Venice and the videos are available on Culturebox until the end of 2017. Enjoy for instance here Hana in the roles of La Musica and Euridice in Orfeo!
Phantasm and Dunedin Consort pay hommage to Gibbons
Invited by and together with singers from Scottish Dunedin Consort Phantasm, directed by Laurence Dreyfus will render homage to Orlando Gibbons' works on 29 March in the Cannongate Kirk in Edinburgh. The concert focuses especially on the pieces the composer had written as a member of the Chapel Royal for the (only!) visit of James' VI of Scotland (I of England) in 1617.
On the programme there are furthermore consorts and anthems by Gibbons for singers and up to six viols, but also consort songs as The Silver Swan or Go from my window.
Listen here to Orlando Gibbons' Fantasia a6 (MB 33), a piece from the programme for Edinburgh.
Per-Sonat: Bingen in Bingen
»Er küsse mich mit dem Kuss seines Mundes...« is the title of the programme which Per-Sonat presented on 21 March, the International Day of Early Music, in the Johanneskirche in Bingen: a musical dialogue between Hildegard von Bingen and Bernhard von Clairvaux - on one hand the ecstatic compositions by Hildegard with their enormous ambitus, on the other hand the sober, nearly unornamented chorals of the Cistercians.
WWith this combination of the idiosyncratic compositions by Hildegard von Bingen and the chants of the order of Bernhard von Clairvaux, the Cistercians, focused on chasteness and purism, Sabine Lutzenberger, Tobie Miller and Witte Weber wanted to emphasize the musical dispute, in which this two grand personalities of the 12th century were engaged - particulary as this aspect of their dialogue is far less known than their correspondence.
Here you can receive an impression of Hildegard's figural way of composition, in an excerpt from her antiphone O splendissima gemma:
Breathtaking on tour in Holland
It seems to be a neverending success, which soprano Hana Blažíková and cornetto player Bruce Dickey experience with their programme Breathtaking, recently also released on CD: whilst generally it's rather unusual in Early Music that a programme is performed more than once or twice in the same version - as the repertoire is so vast and the themes of the presenters so varied - Breathtaking proved to be an exception of this rule. After several much acclaimed concerts in Germany and Europe the musicians also went on a tour through Canada and the US; and now it was the Netherlands they were touring.
From 14 to 19 March Hana and Bruce presented Breathtaking in Almere, Utrecht, Leeuwarden, Deventer, Maastricht and Bloemendaal in the framework of the concerts of the Netwerk Oude Muziek Holland.
Enjoy here some foretaste of the concerts with a duet from Alessandro Scarlattis opera Rosinda ed Emireno:
Membra Jesu Nostri with splendorous cast
An extraordinary programme with exquisite cast: in collaboration with Concerto Melante, the only ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, consistently playing on authentic instruments, viol consort Phantasm with Laurence Dreyfus and the singers Hana Blažíková, Barbora Kabátková, Alex Potter, Charles Daniels and Harry van der Kamp performed Buxtehude's wonderful cycle of cantatas Membra Jesu Nostri.
But not only: in order to emphasize the meditative character of this composition, which was explicitely meant as Erbauungsmusik by Buxtehude, the musicians placed his grandest oratoric work in a new context. Between the seven cantatas they presented pieces from the English consort-repertoire for viols, particularly such with sacred titles as In nomine or Rubem quem viderat, which are - though instrumental compositions - inviting the listener to reflect about the content of the (virtual) texts.
The concerts took place on 4 March in the Philharmonie Essen, on 5 March in the Stiftskirche Diez, on 8 March in the Philharmonie Berlin and on 11 March in the Philharmonie Köln.
Songs of Becoming and Passing will be the title of the new CD, which Per-Sonat under direction of Sabine Lutzenberger has recorded between 14 and 16 February in the concerthouse of Blaibach, in collaboration with the Bavarian Broadcast (BR), Studio Franken.
On this new recording the five musicians dedicate themselves to sacred and secular songs of the time of Reformation, in which the influence of this religious upheaval on ethical and moral aspects of the society is clearly discernable: music by Martin Luther, Ludwig Senfl, Orlando di Lasso and Johann Hermann Schein, performed with Renaissance viol and violin, lute, viola d'arco and voice.
The CD will be released on 1 September 2017 on the label Christophorus.
Enjoy here a piece by Senfl in a live-recording of a concert by Per-Sonat: Unser Pfarrer ist auf der Bahn:
Boreas Quartett Bremen in Antwerp
On 9 February young recorder consort Boreas Quartett Bremen made the hearts of the audience resonate with their programme Il flauto Magico in Antwerp's AMUZ.
The four charming musicians Jin-Ju Baek, Elisabeth Champollion, Julia Fritz and Luise Manske enchanted their listeners with an evening of contrasts: many flutes, swift changes, vibrant moderation and magical consort sound. On the programme were works by Eustache du Caurroy, Hans Leo Hassler, Thomas Tallis, Byrd, Bach, Palestrina and others - also several contemporary compositions were involved, for instance one by Piet Swerts.
Listen here to an excerpt from the programme: Piet Swerts Flashing Flutes!
Phantasm in Mexico and the US
Polyphony on tour: from 17 to 31 January violconsort Phantasm directed by Laurence Dreyfus was traveling through Mexico and the US. Nearly all their concerts of this cross-continent tour were sold out and the response of the audiences was between enthusiastic and overwhelming. In Mexico City, for instance, where the concert was graciously sponsored by the Goethe Institut, the queue in front of the Auditorio Blas Galindo of the CENART was longer than 100 metres: it seems that music for viols is striking a chord in Mexican and American listeners, even - or especially - in politically frustrating times.
Besides Mexico City the four musicians played their programme Pearls of Polyphony with music by Alfonso Ferrabosco up to JS Bach amongst others in Doheny Mansion Los Angeles, Frick Collection New York, Oyster Bay, Johnny Carson Theatre Lincoln, Saint Cloud and at the Bach Society Oregon. Several of the concerts were recorded by placely broadcast stations.
Furthermore the musicans gave various masterclasses.
Listen here an excerpt from the concert in New York, which radio WQXR New York kindly placed at our disposal: Richard Mico's Fancy no.5 a4:
Linda Nicholsons most recent CD: Diapason d'Or!
Discovering the Piano is the title of Linda Nicholson's most recent CD, just released on the renowned Flemish Early Music label Passacaille, with partly unknown, but all the more fascinating works for fortepiano by Scarlatti, Paradisi, Platti, Soler, Giustini, Alberti and young Handel. All this wonderful music gives proof of the fact that this instrument, which was only invented around 1690, was far better known and popular by the middle of the 18th century than we had assumed so far.
Linda also did let herself inspire for this felicitous CD by an instrument built by Denzil Wraight: the copy of an early 18th-century Ferrini-fortepiano from Italy. The particularly smooth, sweet sound of this model complements Linda's lucid and clearly phrased, but immensely cantable way of playing in the most beautiful way - and makes all the more obvious, why at most courts and even in the houses of the wealthy of the time fortepianos were standing rather shortly after this instrument was invented, already.
And it seems that the fortepiano - and particularly Linda's handling of the same - still nowadays highly attracts the listeners, as the CD was awarded with the highly coveted Diapason d'Or in the month after its' release! Congratulations!
Listen here to Lodovico Giustinis Corrente from the Sonata no. I in g minor:
Gerlinde Sämann: Christmas Oratorio
JS Bach's Christmas Oratorio and Jan Dismas Zelenka's Magnificat in D sang Gerlinde Sämann in two conerts on 17 and 18 December in the Stadtkirche Bad Cannstadt with the Bachchor Bad Cannstadt.
The musical direction of the concerts was in the hands of Jörg-Hannes Hahn.
Listen here to Gerlinde on one of the most recent of her CDs, which were released, with Bach's Ich bin ein guter Hirt, BWV 85.
Le Miroir de Musique, directed by Baptiste Romain: that's Middleages to feel with. When these musicians, specialised in medieval and early Renaissance music devoted themselves to a certain topic or composer they always do this with both, their heart and their head. Thus one can enjoy profound research and new, authentical insights in repertoire which often was forgotten for hundreds of years, but on the other hand experience truly enthusing and thrilling performances; of which the success of the young ensemble's three CDs gives proof as well.
Baptiste Romain of course is well-known to most friends of medieval music already as one of the world's best players on fiddle, Renaissance violin and bagpipes, also in various other ensembles, which use to invite him regularly for concerts and recordings. But in Le Miroir de Musique he now realises his own ideas and projects - be it a programme around the invention of courtly love, one around the birth and childhood of the violin in the Renaissance, or one around lay brotherhoods as harbingers of the Reformation.
Listen here to Filippo de Lurano's Salve, Sacrata.
The programme is widely travelled in the meanwhile - and from 28 October till 13 November soprano Hana Blažíková and cornetto virtuoso Bruce Dickey were on tour through the US and Canada with Breathtaking, which recently also was released as CD. They played amongst other places in Portland, Vancouver, Seattle, San Diego and New York City. And - no wonder - also the audiences of the New World were absolutely excited about the concert!
The next opportunities to experience Breathtaking live will be in spring 2017, when the musicians will tour the Netherlands between 14 and 19 March. Concerts will take place in Almere, Utrecht, Leeuwarden, Deventer, Maastricht and Bloemendaal.
You can find more information (and even buy tickets) here, on the website of the Organisatie Oude Muziek.
Enjoy a duet between cornetto and soprano from Alessandro Scarlatti's opera Rosinda ed Emireno:
David Munderloh records new solo-CD
After David Munderloh's first solo-recording with songs by John Dowland - which was highly acclaimed because of his wonderfully expressive interpretation of the texts and the deliberate naturalness of his voice - the tenor just recorded another CD, and the first cut makes us looking forward with joyful anticipation: David approaches also this new repertoire in an exceedingly lyrical and poetical way, plays with finest vocal means of expression, congenially accompanied by Julian Behr, lute, and Silvia Tecardi, viol.
This time David dedicated himself to works by Henry Lawes (1595-1662), one of only two musicians, Charles I of England, patron of the arts, would give the honour of placing his hands upon their shoulder while they sang and played; the other one was John Wilson. Lawes's emotionally hugely impressing and multilayered works, entitled by himself simply as songs, are nearly unknown today, let alone released on CD - which at least partly is doubtless because there is no realized tablature for the lute, just a simple bass line where the innovation and invention is left to the player. And this is a demand which not so many musicians are able to fulfill.
But also Lawes's collegue John Wilson is honoured on this recording, with some of his lute-preludes, which in their unique melodic and harmonic language produce remarkable effects and are especially suitable as interludes between the songs.
Listen to a first impression of the first cut with Lawes's I'll tell you how:
LaReverdie celebrates 30th birthday with Marco Polo
It hardly seems credible, but it is a fact: laReverdie celebrates its 30th birthday this year! Happy Birthday!
This joyful event was acclaimed suitably ceremonious with two performances of their great new programme Marco Polo on 29th and 30 October in the Auditorium Squero on the isola San Giorgio in Venice.
In these concerts they followed the trail of the medieval globetrotter on his journey throughout Asia to China at the end of the 13th century: the Orient, described from the perspective of a knightly singer-poet. This appealing mixture was translated by laReverdie into music with accordingly extraordinary cast - from occidental instruments of the Middleages to the Persian kamancheh and the Indian tablo.
Their next performance of this programme on 4 December was broadcasted as livestream on the Italian RAI Radio3.
The numerous b's of the North German organ school did find highly lyrical and fond treatment in a concert by Lorenzo Ghielmi on 26 October in Brussels.
Invited by the concert house Palais des Beaux-Arts (or in short: BOZAR) the organ virtuoso played works by Bruhns, Buxtehude, Brunckhorst, Böhm and - of course - Bach, at the splendorous Grenzing-organ of Brussel's cathedral.
The concert was recorded by the Belgian broadcasting station KLARA, where it will be broadcast before long.
Here you can listen to Lorenzo Ghielmi with an excerpt of Bach's Triosonata BWV 526:
And for Ghielmi-fans to prebook: at the next Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht (25 August - 3 September 2017) Lorenzo Ghielmi will be present several times - solistically as well as with his group La Divina Armonia - as artist in residence of the festival. On 25 August at 8pm they'll open the festival for instance with two Bach cantatas and several organ works in the great hall of the Tivoli Vredenburg concert house!
Per-Sonat in Moscow
Hildegard von Bingen - Music of a Saint and a Healer was the title of the programme, performed by Per-Sonat in their debut concert at the festival Musica Mensurata Moscow. On 8 October responsories, antiphones and hymns of the medieval saint sounded in the cathedral St. Peter and Paul, with Sabine Lutzenberger, soprano, and Baptiste Romain, fiddle and bagpipes.
The day after that the two musicians were invited to give a masterclass at Moscow Conservatory around Hildegard's music: a wonderful and unique opportunity for the about 25 students participating to get to know and to love the works of the German mystic!
The travel to Moscow was kindly sponsored by German Goethe Institute.
Enjoy an impression of Sabine's Hildegard-interpretation with an excerpt from the antiphone O splendidissima gemma:
New at Sonus: Wolf Matthias Friedrich
We are delighted to represent in the future with Wolf Matthias Friedrich a bass singer, who brings along all good qualities needed for a singer, who's busy with early music - and even some more: he masters his warm and rounded, very agile voice with flawless technique, but is also able to sing formidably fine in spite of his enormous volume, so that also coloratures are highly pleasurable to hear with him.
Worldwide reknown particularly for his Bach interpretations Wolf also feels at home in early Baroque or Romantic, as well as in contemporary music. Furthermore being also an experienced opera singer, he's often praised for his acting-skills, too.
Recent activities include for instance two concerts with the Brockes passion by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel with il Gardellino, directed by Peter Van Heyghen, or a CD recording with Concerto Melante, the only ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra, consistently playing on period instruments. With them he recorded music by Georg Philipp Telemann for the 500th anniversary of Reformation next year.
No, they didn't change their instruments - but nevertheless viol consort Phantasm, directed by Laurence Dreyfus, was invited to play a concert in the Vivacello festival in Liestal, Switzerland, on 24 September. There they performed their excellent Shakespeare programme From Shakespeare - with viols: Music to praise the Bard with six viols and music by - amongst others - Byrd, Dowland, Gibbons and Tomkins.
In the days prior to that the ensemble was busy to record their next CD: after the great success of their most recent recording, Dowland's Lachrimae (»Resident in Berlin, the English-Finnish viol consort Phantasm have rendered this hour of music in a manner befitting their name – fantastically...«, for instance the Süddeutsche Zeitung from Munich cheered), one may look forward now to their interpretation of Christopher Tye's complete consort music; to be released on Scottish label Linn-records in 2017.
Listen to Orlando Gibbons's Peascod time, a piece from the Shakespeare programme:
Carmina Burana with laReverdie
»They trundle through the world, study the artes liberales in Paris, the litterae humaniores in Orléans, law in Bologna, medicine in Salerno and the magical arts in Toledo - and nowhere they learn morality!«, as the abbot of the monastery of Froedmont ranted in early 13th century against the intellectuals of his time: wandering students and scholars, poets and litterati, polyglot and partly with brilliant academic careers, who were at home at all the universities of Europe and exchanged views and knowledge on their journeys. And furthermore were the authors of the collection Carmina Burana. What might have annoyed the abbot so much were probably the satiric irades against the abuses of the clergy, which are to be found in the Carmina...
Ensemble laReverdie presented some of this satiric songs and neo-Catullian poems with five musicians in a wonderful concert on 18 September in the crypte of Speyer Cathedral, in the framework of the festival Via Medieavel. With a lot of charme and a twinkle in the eye!
Enjoy here Procurans odium from the Carmina Burana collection:
Ars Antiqua Austria: Four Seasons - finally...
Vivaldi's Quattro stagioni may belong among the most frequently played works on today's concert stages. Because of this in early music circles they have the reputation to be a bit too mainstream to be interesting any more. This was the reason that Gunar Letzbor with his ensemble Ars Antiqua Austria had hesitated a long time to record these concerti, and also to present them in a concert.
But lo and behold: now it's done! Gunar explains why and how in the booklet of the CD which lately was released on Challenge Classics (enriched with a violin concerto by Frantisek Jiránek).
Almost at the same time as the CD came onto the market Ars Antiqua Austria performed the cycle on 3 September in the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht: an absolutely captivating experience for the audience!!
Ardently longed for by numerous fans - in begin of September it was finally released, the CD Breathtaking: virtuosic, splendidly brilliant, but also beautifully melodious music from Italy around 1700 for cornetto and soprano with Hana Blažíková and Bruce Dickey.
And the CD confirms how absolutely fascinating it is, to listen to a voice and a cornetto entwining each other musically - and to how vocally a cornetto player can play, how instrumentally a soprano can sing.
The musicians also will be on tour with this programme several times during the following years, for instance in March 2017 and in May 2018. Single dates are still available for concerts!
Here you can listen to Sigismondo D'India's Langue al vostro languir:
Concerto Palatino in Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht
Today Francesco Cavalli is known for his operas mostly and one easily forgets that he also wrote plenty of wonderful sacred music. Concerto Palatino, directed by Bruce Dickey and Charles Toet brought this to the mind of their audience in an evening concert in the big hall of the Vredenburg in the framework of the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht, performing Cavallis vespers.
For this Bruce Dickey had chosen gorgeous motets for up to eight singers and fifteen instruments from Cavalli's collection musiche sacre as well as splendid canzonas (one of them for two cornets and eight trombones - some veritably rare cast!) and arranged them in the order of the vespers for a feast in honour of the virgin Mary, like it might have been sounded in a mass in San Marco in Venice in 17th century: extraordinarily great and colourful music full of brilliance and finery, but also including a lot of intensely intimate and strongly atmospheric moments.
Here you can find a video of a piece from the concert on our Youtube-channel, giving some impression of the grandeur of this music.
Alex Potter: recital in Utrecht
La Serenissima, the republic of Vencie, was the theme of the Festival Oude Muziek 2016, the biggest early music event in the world. On 29 August countertenor Alex Potter sang a recital here with works of two somewhat seldomly played composers from the laguna: Giovanni Legrenzi and Giovanni Rovetta. Together with a string ensemble under direction of first violin Lidewij van der Voort Alex presented several sacred motets, featuring his qualities as a singer in the very best way: wonderful intensity of sound, perfect phrasing and intonation, excellent articulation and presentation of the text as well as always marvellous expressivity.
But Alex being the singer and musician he is of course had pondered this programme a bit more, than just looking for nice pieces and string them together. This didn't seem him appropriate for a concert with sacred music and so he connected the pieces with some Gregorian antiphones and furthermore the string players performed canzonas and sonatas of the two composers between the motets - what in a way conveyed the impression of listening to a musical mass.
Listen here to some live impression of the concert with Rovetta's Salve Regina:
Laurence Dreyfus at Gstaad Menuhin Festival
It's very likely he was the first treble viol player ever on the stage of the Menuhin-Festival Gstaad: on 18 August Laurence Dreyfus appeared here together with Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Anthony Romaniuk in the church of Lauenen.
On the programme was music from a whole millennium, starting with the Winchester Troper (created around the year 1000) via Balades by Guillaume de Machaut and music by Orlando Gibbons up to JS Bach and contemporary works.
Here you can watch an excerpt of a rehearsal for this project on YouTube.
Furthermore from 25 to 30 August Laurence Dreyfus taught in a masterclass in Franconian Schloss Seehaus.
Hiro Kurosaki, the pastry chef
»Imagine a box of delicious chocolates: each one has another form and colour, also the filling is different. Some are more sweet, others less sweet, some melt creamily on your tongue, some crunch like brittle in your mouth. They all are masterly composed nuggets for the senses. That‘s how I experience Georg Philipp Telemann‘s Fantasias for Solo Violin: a delicate compilation, an exuberant variety of ideas and emotions, concentrated in genial reduction for one solistic instrument. Simply mouth-watering!!!« - this is how violinist Hiro Kurosaki describes Georg Philipp Telemann's Fantasias for Solo Violin.
On 16 August he performed these pieces, invited by the Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik, in the Nikolaus-chapel at Ambras castle. A concert which surely quickened the appetite of the audience for more of Telemann's chamber music!
A recording of the concert was distributed on 30 August on the Austrian classical broadcast station ORF1.
Phantasm in Finland and in Radovlijca Festival
Two wonderful opportunities to present their core repertoire in top form took viol consort Phantasm under direction of Laurence Dreyfus on 9 August in the Vantaa Baroque Festival in Helsinki, Finland, and in the Early Music Festival at Radovlijca castle in Slovenia.
On the programme were suites by Matthew Locke as well as some of the Royal Consorts by William Lawes for four viols and lute.
Here you can watch a video with impressions from the rehearsals in Radovlijca from a Slovenian TV station.
And enjoy here some videos from former appearances of Phantasm in Vantaa!
In St. Severus, Boppard, cornettist Bruce Dickey and soprano Hana Blažíková had planned to present a concert with their wonderful project Breathtaking which they had developed together in 2015 and also recorded on CD.
Unfortunately Hana fell ill and couldn't sing in this concert of the festival Rheinvokal. But happily Canadian soprano Suzie LeBlanc could pitch in at short notice - and so it indeed became a different approach to the repertoire in the end, but this was not less charming and brilliant: a truly excellent performance of a unique programme, which enthused the audience not only because of its virtuosity but also because of its numerous heartfelt moments.
Radio station SWR2 recorded the concert and had it broadcast on 3 November.