He was born in 's-Graveland, North Holland and studied organ and harpsichord from 1947 to 1950 with Eduard Müller at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel. In 1950, he made his debut as a harpsichordist in Vienna, where he studied musicology. He was professor of harpsichord at the Academy of Music from 1952 to 1955 and at the Amsterdam Conservatory from 1954. He was also a church organist.wiki
…I greet this stunning performance as the way to hear this masterpiece. ~ J.F. Weber, Fanfare
Kuijken was born in Dilbeek, near Brussels. He was a member of the Alarius Ensemble of Brussels between 1964 and 1972 and formed La Petite Bande in 1972. Since 1971 he has taught Baroque violin at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and the Koninklijk Muziekconservatorium in Brussels. He is noted for using the older technique of resting the violin on the shoulder without a shoulder rest, rather than held under the chin. He is a member of the Kuijken String Quartet, which he formed in 1986. In recent years, he has also performed as conductor of symphonies of the Romantic era…wiki
…With a bright tone, buoyant tempos, piquant intonation, effortless ensemble, and relaxed virtuosity, the 12 musicians of La Petite Bande play together with exactly the kind of elegant brilliance and elevated intelligence the music requires. Under Kuijken's hands, these works, composed by the teenage Mozart, sound fresh, witty, tender, and altogether endearing. As delightful an addition to any Mozart shelf as it would be a welcome relief from the spiritual rigors of Bach's cantatas, this disc will please just about every classical enthusiast, especially in Accent's clear, deep 2006 digital sound.
The title of this release is thoroughly misleading. The album contains nothing like the ''Complete Flute Sonatas'' of C. P. E. Bach but only those for flute with obbligato harpsichord, of which there are but five. Eleven others for flute and continuo are omitted, along with Bach's single work for unaccompanied flute. Instead, the remaining five sonatas in the programme consist of two (BWV1020 and 1031) whose authorship has long been a matter of dispute; a trio for flute, violin and bass (H578) in which the violin part has been taken over by the right hand of the keyboard; another (H543) in which a similar adjustment has been made to Bach's two differently scored originals; and a duet for violin and harpsichord (H504) in which the violin part is taken by the flute. So, you can see that the title of the album is somewhat economical with the truth, though the accompanying essay by Barthold Kuijken clarifies the position.– Nicholas Anderson, Gramophone [5/1994]
There are quite a few French Baroque ballet and opera samplers on the market, perhaps because theses repertories, with their arcane textual and musical conventions and their unfamiliar genres, are thought to be rather inaccessible for general listeners in complete works or large chunks of them. The reconstructions of William Christie and others, including this disc's conductor, Sigiswald Kuijken, have shown that equal parts of imagination and musicality can go a long way toward making the operas of the French Baroque come alive, and the repertoires of virtuoso singers are beginning to reflect this.
Zoroastre was first performed in Paris in 1749 and was, by and large, well received. But the librettist, Cahusac was taken to task by some for relegating the love element in the opera to a secondary place. When it was revived in 1756 Cahusac made shifts of emphasis within the plot and it is this version as it first appeared, rather than that which involved yet further small changes later in the season, which is performed here. The libretto deals with the conflict between Good and Evil or Light and Darkness central to Zoroastrianism. Oromases, King of the Genies, represents the former and has Zoroastre as his high priest, while Abramane, high priest of the Temple of Darkness represents the latter. The chief protagonists in the drama are Zoroastre and Abramane who vie for power, glory and love; their characters are skilfully and often strikingly portrayed by Rameau, whose score is richly endowed with bold dashes of colour.