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!
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.
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.
When Richard Maunder's editions get together with Christopher Hogwood and co, you know instantly that the result will be spot on. The sound of the boy treble line (singing alto as well) is earthy yet in tune, and well complemented by the strong lower parts. The orchestra is supportive yet unobtrusive. The dynamics and phrasing are all well chosen and executed. The choice of soloists is inspired, especially Arleen Auger - such a beautiful voice. It is just a pity that there is not more on the disc - some have argued in the 'Dona ut Kyrie' tradition that an Agnus Dei could be tacked on at the end using the music of the Kyrie. An excellent recording.
Led by Christopher Hogwood, the Academy of Ancient Music has made many renowned recordings of Handel's music-particularly the oratorios. The beloved Messiah heads up this 8-CD set, followed by Esther; La Resurezzione , and, making its return to the international catalog after an absence of several years, the 1985 recording of Athalia -with none other than Joan Sutherland in the title role! Recorded in London, 1979-85.
Classical music is one of the greatest joys in life. Opera on the other hand, is often too melodramatic to stomach. But there is nothing more enchanting than an Aria. On this 2 CD set, Emma Kirkby sings in sweet exultation. Her voice expresses power and agility yet a limpid tranquility. Clarity is the greatest achievement of any musician. With the aid of precision accompaniment on period instruments, shameless perfection is delivered. She soothes the soul longing for beauty. Her marvelous Soprano is rendered on 25 tracks in this eclectic ensemble. If you are a champion of Handel or a devotee of Mozart, you should not hesitate to purchase this CD. Emma Kirkby will have you beaming with delight and pining for more. Surely it will be one of the brightest of your collection.
The concerto offers a kind of unique excitement no other instrumental music can match. Where a symphony enthralls us with its thematic variations and development, a concerto gives us human drama - the exhilaration of a soloist or group of soloists ringing forth against the mass of the orchestra.
Documentary following concert pianist Leif Ove Andsnes as he attempts, in a series of worldwide performances, to interpret one of the greatest sets of works for piano ever written - Beethoven's five piano concertos. However, the film is more than a portrait of a famous musician on tour - it is an exploration into Ludwig van Beethoven's life as revealed by these five masterworks. The relationship between the composer and his world is mirrored by the relationship between the pianist and orchestra in these concertos. Andsnes offers rare insights into the mind of a world-class pianist and access to his personal and professional life. Against the background of Leif Ove playing these pieces, we also peel back the myths of Beethoven's life - from prodigious talent in Vienna to greatest composer alive by the time he wrote the fifth concerto.