…The Queen Anne Ode is a solemn piece, again, a real pleasure to listen to, but not exactly a memorable showstopper. If you are a fan of Hogwood, as am I, this is a must have CD. Nothing he ever did is a complete wash, and this collection a far cry from it. This is Vintage Hogwood. Call it "Early Original Instrument."
This six-CD box set brings together four major concerto sets composed including the most famous Il Cimento dell'Armonia e l'Invenzione awarded pride of place.
The eminently reliable Academy of Ancient Music play their period instruments with consummate zest under their charismatic conductor Christopher Hogwood and these sets date back to the early digital cum late analogue days when the fabled 'L'Oiseau-Lyre' label still produced those lavishly packaged boxes with their distinctive white covers and the wonderful paintings.
The lean sound of the small ensemble enables you to clearly hear countless details that are obscured on even the best modern orchestra recordings. Steven Lubin's performances, and the different instruments he uses, are carefully attuned to the qualities of each individual concerto. His performances are triumphs of insight and expressiveness, and Hogwood makes sure the orchestra stays with him in every detail. My only major complaint about this set is that the wasted space on the third disc, which contains only the Emperor Concerto, should have been used for more Beethoven.
Stylistically these works are split into two categories: the symphonies 1 to 4 are written in the style of the Italian opera overture and are all in three movements with Italian tempo indications. The second half of the collection is composed in French style, starting with a stately introduction which is followed by a fugal section.
In 1981, when LP was published, Christopher Hogwood wrote:
"The fate of almost all "pops" is to be more frequently heard in adaptations, orchestrations and arrangements than in the original style and colours intended by the composers. This disc is an attempt by The Academy of Ancient Music to redress the balance a little by presenting some of the most admired masterpieces of the 18th century in their original sonorities, performed in a style and on instruments appropriate to the period."
What was written almost thirty years ago it is still truth today…
In addition to volumes and volumes of church and chamber music, the astonishingly prolific Georg Philipp Telemann wrote a great many concertos–the most engaging of which are those for two or more solo instruments, often in interesting combinations. It must be said that many of these concertos are a bit lightweight, but they are lively and diverting–and Christopher Hogwood and the baroque-instrument specialists of the Academy of Ancient Music give them accomplished, persuasive performances. Among the tasty confections here are a vigorous concerto for three trumpets; a double concerto for recorder and transverse flute–in the 18th-century context, the old-fashioned and the newfangled side by side; and the "Concerto polonois" for string orchestra without soloists, based on rustic dance music Telemann heard in Poland as a young man. Then there's the gorgeous concerto for flute, oboe d'amore, and viola d'amore (the last two being lower-pitched versions of the oboe and viola): in the hands of Stephen Preston, Clare Shanks, and Monica Huggett, respectively, Telemann's music for these aptly named instruments brings to mind waking up on a bright sunny morning with your true love in your arms. – Matthew Westphal (Amazon)
This set of Brandenburg concertos is based upon the original Cöthen edition, and not the more often recorded final version which Bach sent to the Margrave of Brandenburg in 1721.
The main difference between the two versions is that in the Cöthen edition, being an early draft, the third movement of #1 is omitted; the fourth movement thus becomes the third movement and is itself abridged. Likewise, the pyrotechnic, crowd-goes-wild harpsichord solo in the first movement of #5 appears here abbreviated and tamed.