Jos van Immerseel and Claire Chevallier have enjoyed a close collaboration for many years now. Like Jos van Immerseel, Claire Chevallier loves period pianos; like him, she is a researcher and possesses her own collection of keyboard instruments.
In the course of the 1996-97 season, Anima Eterna played and recorded Schubert's complete symphonies in the particularly innovative interpretation of their conductor, Jos van Immerseel. This interpretation, based on the study of Schubert's manuscripts and on the instruments used at the time of their first performance, allows us to discover sound colours that combine freshness and profundity.
The listener may see the phrase "piano Erard 1905" on the cover of this album of Ravel works and wonder whether the historical performance movement has really gone too far. And truly this is, at least from a modern standpoint, an unusual and even bizarre Ravel recording. It's not so much the Erard piano, which sounds as though it was made to play Fauré and Debussy, but is not so far from other concert grands. What's strange is the general interpretation by Flemish historical keyboardist Jos van Immerseel, known mostly for his performances of music from the eighteenth and perhaps the early nineteenth centuries.
The music of Johann Strauss reflects an elegance and refinement typical of Vienna. It inspires us with a joie de vivre and an almost irresistible urge to dance. The ensemble Anima Eterna Brugge and its conductor, Jos van Immerseel, invite us to spend a delightful moment in Strauss’s company and theirs, with delicacy and feeling, conviction and emotion. Keeping as close as possible to the original score, they enable us to hear these pieces as they were intended by the composer.
A leader of the movement for historically informed performances, Jos van Immerseel has been active in performances of Renaissance and Baroque music, but he has concentrated on piano music of the Classical and Romantic eras, performing and recording much of the keyboard repertoire on period instruments. This eight-CD box set from Accent contains van Immerseel's recordings from 1979 to 1986, played on a variety of original pianofortes and modern reproductions, and with period instruments in the works for ensembles.
I wouldn’t have thought the world was anxiously waiting for a historically informed performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade . Written in 1888 and a masterpiece of orchestration, it would seem that this was one work that really cries out for the full resources of a modern symphony orchestra. So I was surprised when I saw a listing for this new recording with the Bruges-based period-instrument ensemble, Anima Eterna. Despite all the heat generated in some quarters, I remain fairly neutral regarding H.I.P., seeing it neither as the salvation of music from 20th-century excesses nor as the death of music through formalism. At their best, H.I.P. performances throw a different light on the overly familiar.
Authentic and authoritative, these 1985 recordings of Mozart and Beethoven's quintets for piano and winds have almost everything going for them. Performing on a pianoforte modeled on a 1790 Viennese instrument, Jos van Immerseel is an adroit player, while the quartet drawn from the period instrument wind band Octophoros Paul Dombrecht on oboe, Elmar Schmid on clarinet, Piet Dombrecht on horn, and Danny Bond on bassoon are likewise all skillful instrumentalists.