Monday, 31 March 2014

Cantatas and chamber music with recorder - Telemann

Telemann wrote more than any other composer of the baroque period for my instrument, the recorder – and with idiomatic success which is what has encouraged me to get to know the composer and his music in greater depth-.
Telemann was originally supposed to study law, but insisted that music would be his focus. Moreover, he proved to be not only a great composer, but also an organizer of concerts and a publisher of musical scores. He was a highly versatile entrepreneur as well as a remarkable and curiously “modern” musician: a man who took hard work in his stride, becoming one of the most prolific composers of all times.
Stylistically Telemann was an eclectic, schooled in a huge range of idioms, embracing both the utmost rigor as well as a more light-hearted vein (see for instance the collection of Trietti metodichi e scherzi). This latter style was considered highly advanced at the time, and was to achieve the finest outcome with Mozart, who is the most loved and performed composer of our own times. Telemann certainly owed a lot to the Italian school exemplified by Arcangelo Corelli, but at the same time he was also a great admirer of the French style. He often included folk music, mixing everything together with consummate skill, and appealing to audiences in a manner unparalleled by other musicians of the period.
The four cantatas in this recording are fully representative of those belonging to the Harmonischer Gottesdienst (music for religious services), a collection of cantatas for solo voice and flute, oboe or violin, and harpsichord. The originality of many of the copious musical ideas makes the collection an outstanding repertoire for a small ensemble comprising voice, a high-pitched instrument and the continuo. The idiomatic writing for the voice, its relation to the instrumental parts and the many indications concerning interpretation place the Harmonischer Gottesdienst among the great achievements of the period. They also greatly facilitate the task of the performer.
One of Telemann’s characteristic skills was his ability to imbue the arias of these cantatas with the sort of brilliance that we normally associate with solo concertos. A case in point is deine Toten warden leben, where the radiance of the initial aria counterbalances the sweetness of the concludins one. The first aria of Hemmet den Eifer again reveals Telemann’s compositional skills, and at the same time testifies to his familiarity with the recorder. In fact the recorder part is full of demanding passage work of the sort one might expect in a solo concerto. The vocal score, on the other hand, is smooth and linear, which makes for a particularly effective contrast. The opening aria of Du bist verflucht, o Schreckensstimme features some unusual chromaticism that conjures up a sense of expressive anger, further emphasized by the tense instrumental interplay and the active participation of the basso continuo.
The two rarely heard instrumental pieces here are not only particularly enjoyable, but also significant within the wider context of Telemann’s oeuvre. The various movements of the E minor Partita in the Kleine Kammermusik collection create a fluctuating range of atmospheres, and there is a wide-ranging expressive universe in the G minor Trio Sonata. To judge from the quantity and quality of the music Telemann wrote for the recorder, the composer must have been a more than competent player himself; he chooses convenient keys and pitches, and also exploits the entire range of the instrument. Features of this sort are not as common in the music of Vivaldi and Haendel, although both also wrote important works for the recorder. The highly varied virtuoso nature of Telemann’s compositions for the instrument is undeniably demanding for the performer. Because the overall impact of the works is so extraordinary, however, to play them is also uniquely rewarding.                                                                                 Stefano Bagliano

Enjoy :)

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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Telemann Opera Arias - Nuria Rial

I have always said that the output's quality of a performance is 50% the composition itself and 50% the interpretation given, listening this cd that gathers some of the most emotional arias found not so long of Telemann’s, sung extraordinary by the great soprano Nuria Rial will proof my statement.

Enjoy :)

Saturday, 29 March 2014

German Baroque songs (Deutsche Barocklieder) - Annette Dasch

Poets and musicians that lived the thirty years suffered from censorship from the orthodox in which music should be driven by the nature rhythm of the poetry, where no exaltations of emotions  were permitted or were highly impeded. It was a very difficult time in which war and illness stroke. For men in these circumstances, life was crude and every pleasure written down was shortened. It was also a time in which emblems and mottos take more significance (more or less as we can see in some Facebook chains), it was the way to appreciate the few left in a decadent society.

Enjoy in the voice of this great singer :)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Opere Vocali e strumentali - Frescobaldi

Girolamo Frescobaldi is better known for his keyboard music, but, certainly was an excellent composer for instrumental and vocal music too, and this recording proves it. 

In his time, Frescobaldi was an admirable musician, so much that his influence persisted for at least two centuries.  His collection of organ music “Fiori musicali” served as a standard of pure counterpoint, and his various printings of canzonas, toccatas, partitas, fantasies, etc helped to the ongoing development of Italian music. 

Enjoy :)

Friday, 21 March 2014

Vespro della Beata Vergine - Monteverdi

The music of Claudio Monteverdi (Cremona 1567 – Venice 1643), whether secular or religious, is not doubt the most striking reflection of the profound change of mentality that took place at the end of the Renaissance. Medieval man’s symbolic perception of the universe as being in harmony with divine truth gave way to the exploration of terrestrial reality. In the world of art music was to become the foremost medium for the expression of the mysterious depts  of human nature. “To depict the passions”, movere gli affeti: this was to be the composer’s new parole. At the end of the 16th century, with the collision of Reformation and Counter-Reformation, sacred music, too, reflected this aesthetic rupture. Although it remained pledged to the spiritual message, it recalled that this message was also addressed to man and thatit had to adopt the appropriate language in order to achieve its true goal: edification through emotion. Monteverdi was an extraordinary precocious genius. His first works, the Sacrae Cantiumculae, were published in 1582, when he was only fifteen. In this first collection of little three-part motets Monteverdi’s distinction is his highly personal treatment of the liturgical text. He thus rendered himself conspicuous at a period when religious music was dominated by the precepts of the Counter-Reformation with its demands for clarity and the primary importance it accorded to the comprehension of the sacred texts, mixed up with the rules of what was still called the Ars Perfecta. This “Perfect Art” was that of the Franco-Flemish composers with Josquin as its foremost representative. It continued throughout the 16th century, spread throughout Europe by northem masters like Willaert, Isacc, Gombert, De Wert and even Lassus, reaching its final peak in the works of the Italian, Palestrina and the Spaniard, Victoria. The foundation of this style lies in a skillfully contrapuntual polyphony, i.e. the quest for a perfect balance between musical lines that are all of equal importance.

Until the end of his life Monteverdi demonstrated a perfect mastery of this “old practice”, which he called his prima prattica, as is borne out in the Sacrae Cantiunculae of 1582, the Missa in illo tempore from the collection of 1610, and the two Missa a Quattro voci da cappella published in 1640 and 1650. It was upon these extremely solid foundations that he was able progressively to construct his seconda prattica, a new style that set the mould for the technical and aesthetic foundations of “modern music”, based on the quest for a credible expression of the “passions”. …
                                                                                                                       Denis Morrier

Enjoy :)

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