Johann Sebastian Bach – Bach – Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Joshua Bell (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 49:57 minutes |  284 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source:Qobuz | Digital Booklet , Front cover
© Sony Music | Recorded: April 28 & 29, 2014 at Air Studios, London, Great Britain

Violinist Joshua Bell is one of the most acclaimed classical musicians of today — renowned for his expressive, elegant, intelligent playing and his deep commitment to bringing the classical tradition to wider audiences.
Now Bell has for the first time recorded the masterpieces of J.S. Bach with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. In his third season now as their music director, Bell performs Bach’s sublime Violin Concertos No. 1 and No. 2, along with a never-done-before ‘violin and orchestra’ arrangement of the famous “Chaconne” from the Partita No. 2 (adapted from Mendelssohn’s piano accompaniment), the Gavotte en Rondeau from Partita No. 3 for solo violin (using Schumann’s accompaniment), and the universally beloved “Air on the G string.”
“Bach is the composer who got me hooked on music in the first place,” says Bell, whose “house was filled with Bach when I was growing up.” He also began his music career with Bach. Says Bell, “I made my first appearance as soloist with an orchestra when I was seven years old. The concerto was by Bach, and Bach’s music has been central in my life, even though I have until now resisted recording his music. My approach to Bach has been continuously evolving. I grew up deeply influenced by a tradition of Bach playing that has since gone out of fashion with the arrival of the ‘original instrument’ movement. What fascinates me is how the beauty of Bach can shine through both when performed in a ‘romantic’ style (if done tastefully of course!) and also when done with a more ‘historically informed’ approach.”

(more…)

Joseph Haydn – The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross – Alexei Lubimov (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88.2 kHz | Time – 01:04:20 minutes | 1.13 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source:Qobuz | Front cover
© Zig-Zag Territoires ,Outhere Music | Recorded: from 17 to 20 June 2013 in Doopsgezinde Gemeente Church, Haarlem (Netherlands)

Although it is played on a period instrument, no one is arguing that this recording of Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Christ is historically authentic. The work, exceptionally in Haydn’s output, exists in multiple versions, for orchestra, string quartet, chorus, and keyboard (either fortepiano or harpsichord). But surely Haydn did not have the instrument heard here, the rare tangent piano, in his head. This was, speaking roughly, a piano-harpsichord hybrid that never really found its footing in the late 18th century. As long as listeners are down with the idea of a fairly speculative recording, the effect of the tangent piano in this particular work is electrifying. Lubimov gets the best of both worlds: the intimacy of the keyboard version and the dynamic contrasts and timbral shadings of the orchestral original. The keyboard transcription is not by Haydn himself but was made in his own time, and he approved it. Lubimov works from this, tweaking it and adding contrasts that break up the seven consecutive slow movements and give them an extraordinarily expressive quality. Even when listeners know it’s coming, the final Terremoto movement, depicting the earthquake following Christ’s crucifixion, comes as a shock. Listeners will never hear the work quite the same way again after experiencing this recording, and even if Haydn didn’t intend it this way, most may well end up wishing he had.

(more…)

John Dowland – Lute Songs – Damien Guillon, Eric Bellocq (2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88.2 kHz | Time – 01:00:17 minutes | 375 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source:Qobuz | Front cover
© Zig-Zag Territoires ,Outhere Music | Recorded: du 3 au 7 mai 2009 à l’Eglise Evangélique Allemande PARIS 11

Damien Guillon has chosen for his first solo recital disc a refined, subtle and melancholy repertoire, which he has gone on to explore in depth and polish in genuine chamber style with the lutenist Eric Bellocq, an expert in Renaissance music.

“Dowland is heir to the English polyphonic tradition (middle age conception) where words and music coincide not on meaning but through proportions generated by the planets, however he also explores the new modes of expression which were emerging on the continent related to italian renaissance which linked meaning of the words and musical effect, favoring harmony towards polyphony.

His ambivalent attitude seems to have caught the attention of the performers on this recording. Damien Guillon and Éric Bellocq succeed in finding an unprecedented balance between these two facets of the composer’s art. Both singer and lutenist dramatise their discourse by means of great variety of dynamics, yet without breaking up the polyphonic lines.” Jean-Luc Tamby

Eric Bellocq plays a liuto forte from André Burguete’s conception, an instrument which enables the player to develop a larger sound possibilities creating a true dialogue with the singer and a great freedom in improvisation.

Damien Guillon started at an early age as a member of child’s choir Brittany, then at the Versailles Baroque Center while studying organ and harpsichord. In 2004, he was admitted to the countertenor Andreas Scholl’s class at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis… He was soon spotted by such well-known conductors as Jordi Savall, Vincent Dumestre, Hervé Niquet, Jérôme Correas, Philippe Pierlot, Jean-Claude Malgoire, Christophe Rousset, William Christie, and Philippe Herreweghe.

He has founded his own ensemble, Le Banquet Céleste, with which he has performed at Les Nuits Musicales d’Uzès and the Froville Festival. Their repertoire includes Vivaldi’s Nisi Dominus, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, and the cantatas for alto and obbligato organ of J. S. Bach, which will be Damien Guillon’s next recording project on Zig-Zag Territoires.

(more…)

Johannes Schenck – Le Nymphe di Rheno – Wieland Kuijken, Francois Joubert-Caillet (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44.1 kHz | Time – 01:15:15 minutes | 747 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download |  Source:Qobuz | Digital Booklet , Front cover
© Ricercar , Outhere Music | Recorded: August 2012, église Notre-Dame de Centeilles

Born in Amsterdam and based in Germany, Johannes Schenk blended the musical influences of the English viol school and of Marin Marais. Each volume of his works has its own individual character: the volume entitled Le Nymphe di Rheno contains twelve sonatas for two bass viols without figured bass. Schenk here makes use of the Italian sonata form, as he does in the church sonatas as well as the chamber sonatas with their dance movements. French influences can also be felt in the various rondeaux and minuets and above all in the monumental Chaconne of the Sonata in G major.Two splendid musicians here meet face to face. Wieland Kuijken, one of the pioneers of the viola da gamba revival and the teacher of dozens of today’s most talented musicians, needs no further introduction. François Joubert-Caillet belongs to the new generation: a pupil of Paolo Pandolfo, he performs with many ensembles including Leonardo Garcia Alarcon’s Cappella Mediterranea and Clematis. This CD was recorded in the wonderful atmosphere of the superb Romanesque church of Notre-Dame de Centeilles in the Minervois region of France.

(more…)