The violinist and composer Pieter Van Maldere was once the most famous musicians in the Low Countries and can be considered among the most important creators of the classical symphony. He uses lively and original melodic language, idiomatic to the violin.
This collection represents the full range of Vivaldi recordings Christopher made with the AAM, and includes L'Estro Armonico Op.3, La Stravaganza Op.4, and the violin concertos Opp. 6, 8, 9, 11, and 12; solo concertos for flute (op. 10), oboe, bassoon, and cello; and various concerti grossi. Also featured are the complete cello sonatas, along with the cantatas "Amor, hai vinto" and "Nulla in mundo pax sincera", and sacred vocal works Stabat Mater, Nisi Dominus and the enduringly popular Gloria.
Christopher Hogwood is an irreplaceable figure in a marvelous period that spans over thirty years, the time of the rebirth of the ancient and baroque repertoire: a time of so-called performances with original instruments, as they were hastily defined in an urge to simplify. A period in which, amid the initial skepticism of the critics and their subsequent appreciation, important artists and philologists restored to music lovers the joy of rediscovering masterpieces that had often been forgotten and performing practices that had long been abandoned, recreating enormous interest in a repertoire that is still continuing to reveal the existence of great forgotten musical treasures.
This was the set that really got the "authentic instrument" craze going. It was a big, ambitious project that promised a fresh look at familiar music, as well as lots of exciting new discoveries. Christopher Hogwood tailored his forces to match what we know of the actual size and constitution of the orchestras of the period, and since Mozart wrote symphonies in every country in Europe, including England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, the result is practically a blueprint of 18th-century orchestral practice. Then everyone else got into the act, and these performances sort of fell off the musical map. Listening to them again, one finds they hold up rather well. There's still the sense of discovery, and of course the music itself is glorious.
Following his attractive performance of six of Vivaldi's cello sonatas, Christophe Coin has recorded six of the composer's 24 or so concertos for the instrument. Five of these, Michael Talbot tells us in an interesting accompanying note, probably belong to the 1720s while the sixth, the Concerto in G minor (RV416), is evidently a much earlier work. Coin has chosen, if I may use the expression somewhat out of its usual context, six of the best and plays them with virtuosity and an affecting awareness of their lyrical content. That quality, furthermore, is not confined to slow movements but occurs frequently in solo passages of faster ones, too. It would be difficult to single out any one work among the six for particular praise. My own favourite has long been the happily spirited Concerto in G major (RV413) with which Coin ends his programme. Strongly recommended. (Gramophone Magazine)
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.
Christophe Rousset is one of the finest and most exciting harpsichordists, and as a conductor is a leader in the late 20th century revival of French Baroque music. After studying piano as a boy, he became deeply interested in the harpsichord at the age of 13. He studied with Huguette Dreyfus at the Schola Cantorum in Paris and, from 1980 to 1983, with Bob van Asperen at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. He won a special certificate of distinction at the Schola Cantorum and, in 1983, the first prize at the International Harpsichord Competition in Bruges.
Andrew Manze is not only a superb violinist – check out his Biber sonatas – but also a superb music director. Since taking over the calcified old Academy of Ancient Music and bringing the group with him to Harmonia Mundi, he has produced a stunning series of recordings: a couple of Vivaldi discs, a wonderful set of Handel's Opus 6 concertos, a sublime disc of the Bach concertos. Now they have released Geminiani's Concerto Grossi after Corelli's Op. 5, and it is their best yet.
In this performance of Handel's best-loved oratorio, conductor Christopher Hogwood returns to the original performance traditions. The choruses are sung by boy trebles and male altos, tenors and basses, and member of the Choir of Westminster Abbey. The soloists improvise embellishments in the arias and, in certain cases, join in the singing of the choruses - just as they would have done 240 years ago. In addition, Members of the Academy all play instruments of the period or accurate modern copies.