Tobias Hume: Poeticall Musicke / Eric Fischer: Topographic Long Range – Marianne Muller (2010)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2kHz | Time – 01:12:48 minutes | 1,15 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Zig-Zag Territoires , Outhere Music
Recorded: 20 au 24 juillet 2009 à l’église évangélique allemande PARIS 9

Marianne Muller – fierce player of viola da gamba, recently applauded for her outstanding interpretation of Folies d’Espagne of Marin Marais on Zig-Zag Territoires – brings us solo and consort pieces of Tobias Hume – captain and eccentric English composer of the XVII century. Committed to her instrument, Marianne Muller commissions to contemporary composers new pieces for viola di gamba…and Eric Fischer created a piece dedicated to Tobias Hume.Little is known of Hume’s life. Some have suggested that he was born in 1569 because he was admitted to the London Charterhouse in 1629, a pre-requisite to which was being at least 60 years old, though there is no certainty over this. He had made his living as a professional soldier, probably as a mercenary. He was an officer with the Swedish and Russian armies.His published music includes pieces for viols (including many solo works for the lyra viol) and songs. They were gathered in two collections, The First Part of Ayres (or Musicall Humors, 1605) and Captain Humes Poeticall Musicke (1607). He was a particular champion of the viol over the then-dominant lute, something which caused John Dowland to publish a rebuttal of Hume’s ideas.Hume was also known as a prankster, as some of his somewhat unusual compositions illustrate. His most notorious piece was “An Invention for Two to Play upone one Viole”. Two bows are required and the smaller of the two players is obliged to sit in the lap of the larger player. This work was notated in tablature and is indeed technically possible to play. His instructions to “drum this with the backe of your bow” in another piece, “Harke, harke,” constitute the earliest known use of col legno in Western music.Eric Fischer has composed more than 200 works, which range from pieces for solo instrument to symphonic form by way of every type of instrumental forces and the most diverse experiences, including chamber music, electronics, vocal works, incidental music for the theatre, improvised music and pieces for period instruments. His openness to encounters of all kinds has led to other highly unusual artistic exchanges.

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Paul Hindemith – Sonatas for… – Alexander Melnikov (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 71:01 minutes | 1,16 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: eclassical.com | © Harmonia Mundi
Recorded: septembre et décembre 2013, Teldex Studio Berlin

Hindemith composed more than 30 sonatas for the most diverse instruments – all of which he was capable of playing himself! This fascinating selection of works written between 1935 (when he became persona non grata in Nazi Germany) and 1948 (the brilliant Cello Sonata for Piatigorsky) is played by some of today’s finest soloists, with the guiding spirit of Alexander Melnikov at the piano. How often does one hear a sonata for Althorn? Especially one published along with a poem by the composer?

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Hildegard von Bingen – Vox cosmica – Hirundo Maris, Arianna Savall, Petter Udland Johansen (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:17:35 minutes | 1,43 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Carpe Diem Records
Recorded: February 2014 at Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche Basel-Binningen (Switzerland)

Hildegard of Bingen was one of the most prominent women in medieval Europe. Her political, spiritual and artistic legacy has remained unique to this day. For good reason, she is still known to a wide public almost a thousand years after her death. The interest in Hildegard gained momentum after Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church. It is therefore to be welcomed that a young generation of musicians is exploring her works. Thanks to the Sequentia ensemble, Hildegard’s entrancing music has made it into the pop music charts since 1980. Initially, the aim was mainly to unveil the treasure of Hildegard’s compositions. As time has passed, not only has a great deal of knowledge about early music reading and performance practice been acquired, but also young musicians nowadays feel much more relaxed about developing their own views and interpretations of masterpieces, thus making valuable contributions from both a philological and musical standpoint.

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Haydn 2032, Vol. 1 La Passione – Giovanni Antonini, Il Giardino Armonico (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:10:41 minutes | 1,26 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Alpha Productions , Outhere Music
Recorded: Teldex Studio Berlin, 20–24 October 2013

‘Symphony No. 49 is of dramatic inspiration, as is the finale of the 39th (with four horns!) in a fairly “Gluckist” style. We are at the beginnings of Sturm und Drang.
‘The first performance of Gluck’s ballet Don Juan, in Vienna in 1761, was an outstanding event in the development of dramatic expression in music. This was the first “modern” ballet, featuring dancers illustrating the story, not through a pre-established dance form (minuet, gavotte, etc.) but through free expression of their bodies.
‘I am truly captivated by the very strong correspondence existing in Gluck’s score between the story of Don Juan (the dancers’ movements) and the music, like a sort of little dictionary of musical gestures, with elements that are to be found in purely instrumental music of the period, including Haydn’s.
‘Yet it was in the 1760s (thus after the first performance of Gluck’s Don Juan) that Haydn began his first “dramatic” symphonies. ‘So I find it very interesting to bring together this piece by Gluck and these symphonies.’ –Giovanni Antonini

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Joseph Haydn – String Quartets, op.33 – The London Haydn Quartet (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 02:13:19 minutes | 520 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: hyperion-records | © Hyperion Records
Recorded: June 2012 at Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth, United Kingdom

The calling card here is the use of an Amsterdam edition of Haydn’s Op. 33 string quartets that reverses the order of some of the inner movements. It’s never made clear why this edition should get priority over the dozens of others that circulated around Europe, with and without Haydn’s consent, but so be it; there are some tempo novelties here that shed some light on how Haydn’s music was received, at least in some quarters. There the good news ends. These performances are sterling examples of the kind that gave historical-instrument readings a bad name for so long among ordinary listeners. The problem is not with the Classical-era bows and gut strings that many musicians have applied profitably to Classical chamber music. Nor is it with the lack of vibrato, which done right gives Haydn a brisk, bracing humor. The problem is instead with the total lack of humor and gradation in the music, which is as inexpressive as you will find anywhere. The London Haydn Quartet proclaims itself to have been born out of “a passion for Haydn’s string quartets,” but the passion is hard to hear, and the group’s playing would be more typical of musicians with a background in the terraced dynamics of Baroque music; for the most part they have an inflexible attitude toward dynamics. There may be a market for this among the historical-performance hard core, but even for this leaner in that direction it did not satisfy. Sample well before buying. Even the normally unimpeachable sonics of the Wyastone Estate concert hall get distorted here, with the players unpleasantly closely miked. –James Manheim

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