Co-chief conductors Riccardo Minasi and Maxim Emelyanychev take turns on the podium leading this period-instrument band in a rousing collection of concertos by Haydn. Il Pomo d'Oro has been hailed "a wonderful ensemble, and Minasi an outstanding musician" capable of "bringing the house down with his virtuosity" (The Guardian). Emelyaychev's award-winning harpsichord joins Minasi's violin in the soloists' spotlight, along with the distinguished natural horn of Johannes Hinterholzer. The concertos are complemented by Haydn's Symphony No 83 (known as The Hen, because of the ‘clucking’ figures on the strings in its second movement) and his Keyboard Fantasia Hob.XVII:4.
In AliaVox’s release of the album Entremeses Del Siglo De Oro: Lope de Vega y su tiempo (1550-1650), which translates to “Intermission [music] of the Golden Century: Lope de Vega and his era,” we find soprano Montserrat Figueras and the group Hespèrion XX, Jordi Savall conducting, bringing us some of the finest examples of period music that I know of. The voice of Montserrat Figueras has the limpid and pure quality of a fine recorder, that is, each note is nearly as possible free from embellishment that became part and parcel of vocal training in the following centuries. The ensemble playing of Hespèrion, a group I’ve known for ten years, has never sounded better. Hats off to Jordi Savall. The music itself is akin to entre-act music written for the Elizabethan theater, most notably Shakespeare’s plays. You’ll note the similarity of the Spanish word entremeses and the English word intermission.
This is the 49th title in the Vivaldi Edition and the 5th volume, out of approximately 12, of the series dedicated to the violin concertos whose manuscripts are held in the National Library of Turin. All the concertos selected here are linked to German violinist Johann Georg Pisendel, member of the Dresden orchestra, who spent time in Venice in 1716-17, with the Electoral Prince of Saxony Friedrich August. Vivaldi and Pisendel became very close friends and the Red Priest composed several works for Pisendel. Moreover, Pisendel copied and performed afterwards in Germany several concertos by Vivaldi.
Half the concertos here are dedicated to Johann Georg Pisendel, a stern German soloist who led the Dresden court orchestra and was close friends with J.S. Bach, Telemann and Zelenka, all of whose music he often performed or even premiered. Pisendel adopted the other Vivaldi concertos on this CD into his repertoire, too - copying them out in his own hand from the originals. This theme does not mean that Vivaldi writes in a Germanic way: he’s still his usual fiercely lively self. (Brian Reinhart)