"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).
American Baroque flutist Mary Oleskiewicz has established herself as a specialist in the music of Johann Joachim Quantz, not only performing it but discovering a cross-section of pieces that were hidden in various libraries. Quantz's name is ubiquitous in discussions of German musical life in the middle of the 18th century, but his actual music, almost all of it for flute, was virtually unknown until Oleskiewicz came along. The four concertos heard here are pleasant examples of the galant style, with mostly major-key slow movements that highlight the gentle sound of Oleskiewicz's wooden Baroque flutes.
L'estro armonico, the title of Vivaldi's first published collection of concertos, is commonly translated into English as "harmonic fancy." However, the word oestrus actually means "heat, stimulus, vehement impulse or frenzy" - a better allusion to the startling passion and energy of these twelve concertos, which are widely considered to be among the most influential Baroque orchestral music ever written. Following on their successful and widely acclaimed releases of Vivaldi's La Cetra and La Stravaganza, this release by Rachel Podger and her ensemble Brecon Baroque captures all of the vitality and freshness of Vivaldi's invention: its rhythmic energy, melodic and harmonic intensity, textural sensuousness, technical brilliance and dramatic flair.