"Ensemble 415 is a chamber ensemble devoted largely to the performance of Baroque music on period instruments. The numerical reference in the group's name derives from the pitch used for tuning instruments in the Baroque era. In performing chamber music, Ensemble 415 consists of just a few players, but for larger compositions, the number expands to a minimum of 13 and can reach up to as high as 40 performers. The ensemble's repertory has been broad over the years, taking in many Baroque standards by J.S. Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel, as well as lesser known fare by Muffat and others…"
Label Hyperion has created one of the finest recordings of Muffat's instrumental music ever made: the Parley of Instruments' Muffat: Armonico Tributo. Beautifully recorded at St. Jude-on-the-Hill in London, the Parley of Instruments is jointly led by Peter Holman and Roy Goodman, neither of whom allow any whiny string playing or desultory tempi; the playing is as crisp as the music is fresh.
Schmelzer's many-sided musical talent gives us a detailed glimpse of court life in Vienna and Prague under his imperial employers Ferdinand III (1637-1657) and Leopold I (1657-1705).
This is wonderful music and the Freiburger Barockorchester Consort play it with a rhythmic vitality and elasticity that is at times toe-tappingly infectious. Their performances of the Biber sonatas have a verve and energy and combined with an admirable rhythmic flexibility, so that each of the varied short sections moves naturally into the next. Part of their secret is to give each little section its full due, irrespective of length. This makes for a lively but coherent performance of each sonata. And in the slower sections they are able to thin their tone down to a wonderful transparency. The Muffatt sonatas are rather more robust but here also, the group shines. (Robert Hugill, musicweb-international.com, 2003)
One of London Baroque's first recordings, this 1986 issue of chamber sonatas by Schmelzer and Muffat retains its power to charm, move, and thrill. (James Leonard, All Music Guide)
Ensemble is crisp and well balanced and intonation is excellent. […] The two violinists are beautifully matched but special praise must go to Ingrid Seifert for her passionate account of the Sonata a tre to which the designation Lament has speculatively been appended. […] All in all then, a fine release of interesting sonatas, imaginatively performed and beautifully recorded. (Gramophone, Nov. 1986)
It's not exactly made clear in the packaging and notes, but this appears to be the first item in what would seem to be a massive series leading up to the bicentennial of Haydn's birth in 2032. How will music be acquired in 2032? Will it be directly transferred to the brain from the neurocloud? Be that as it may, the historical-instrument group Il Giardino Armonico and its leader Giovanni Antonini make one curious to hear what's coming down the pike. The plan is to place Haydn in a "thematic dialogue with other composers."
The Academy of Ancient Music does a wonderfully and good performance playing the pieces by Vivaldi one seldom hears and they are precious and surprising heart-touching compositions in the inimicable style of the enthusiastic Antonio. Good purchase of 6 CDs!