Are you a Barocophile, a Baroque-Music-Lover?|
If so, here's a specially priced double album with a selection from our Baroque Catalog, giving you - yes really! - all the best in Baroque Music. Individual movements, varied instrumentation... play both CDs from start to finish, all 79 minutes on each, for a wonderful Baroque Musical Experience!
The English word baroque is derived from the Italian barocco, meaning bizarre, though probably exuberant would be a better translation more accurately reflecting the sense. The usage of this term originated in the 1860s to describe the highly decorated style of 17th and 18th century religious and public buildings in Italy, Germany and Austria.
Later, during the early-to-mid 1900s, the term baroque was applied by association to music of the 17th and early 18th century, and today the term baroque has come to refer to a very clearly definable type or period of music which originated, broadly speaking, around 1600 and came to fruition between 1700 and 1750.
The music on these two discs covers all the important baroque composers (except Bach, who will have his own double album), the different baroque instruments and combinations, and the various forms of baroque music from the concerto and sonata to the prelude, fugue and chaconne as well as some choral items. For each track we give the catalog number of the disc from which the movement is taken, to facilitate further exploration.
Disc 1- ORYX 501
1: Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751): Sinfonia a Cinque in g minor, Op.2, No.6 (from BMC 45) 1:Adagio / 2: Allegro. Much of what is now familiar as baroque music originated in Italy. We open with a splendid piece by Albinoni, a Venetian like Vivaldi. The compositions of his Opus 5 (he would publish 9 in all) were called "Sonatas" but are truly Sinfonias in breadth and richness. The Modena Chamber Orchestra - Francesco Calvi.
2: John Stanley (1711-1786): Concerto No. 3 in G Major for Organ & Strings, Op. 2 - 1: Adagio-Allegro. The blind English organist-composer John Stanley, a contemporary of Handel, specified these Six Opus 2 Concertos "for string orchestra, with solo organ, or harpsichord, or strings". Our recording (BMC 1) explores every combination. Here is an excerpt from Concerto 3 in G, with organ solo played by Conductor Leslie Jones, and The Little Orchestra of London. The organ is a Byfield of 1764, in the church of St Mary, Rotherhithe, historic port on London's Thames River from which the Mayflower set sail.
3: Stanley: Concerto No. 6 in B-flat Major for Harpsichord & Strings, Op. 2 - 1: Adagio - Allegro (Fugue) . From the same disc, BMC 1, we hear the opening movements from Concerto No. 6, with harpsichord solo performed by Harold Lester, who in true Baroque style, provides his own cadenza.
4: G.F. Handel: Harpsichord Suite No. 1 in A Major, HWV 426 (from BMC 23) Opening Prelude. In 1714, George Louis, Elector of Hanover became King George I of England, initiating the Royal House of Hanover, and Handel, who was already in the employ of the Hanover Court, went to England with him where he was to produce a number of now-famous compositions in connection with royal occasions and ceremonies. Handel was also acting as music-master to the King's daughters in 1720 when he published his first set of suites "pour le clavecin" and it may reasonably be supposed that these pieces would have formed a part of the Princesses' repertoire. Christopher Wood provides especially dramatic and characterful performances.
5: William Boyce (1710-1779): Trio Sonata No. 2 in F Major - (from BMC 6) 2: Adagio / 3: Allegro / 4: Allegro. Still in Baroque England, here are three movements from a Trio Sonata by William Boyce, no doubt written, like much of Boyce's music, to entertain the patrons of London's fashionable Vauxhall Gardens. Malcolm Latchem & John Brown, Violins / Jane Ryan, Viola da gamba / David Lumsden, Harpsichord
6: G.F. Handel (1685-1759): Organ Concerto No. 6 in B-flat Major, Op. 4 - (from BMC 5) 1: Andante allegro. Handel's ever-popular Organ Concertos apparently began life as interludes during his operas, Handel performing at the organ. They became so well-loved that Handel, ever the opportunist, had them published as separate works in two major collections, Opus 4 and Op 7. The Concerto Op 4/6, from which we hear the opening movement, is also well known in its version for the Harp. The Thuringian Baroque Ensemble.
7: Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725): Sinfonia No. 2 in D Major for Flute, Trumpet & Strings - (from BMC 7) 1: Sprituoso / 2: Adagio / 3: Allegro. Alessandro is often known as "the father of Domenico", and thus his wonderfully fresh and harmonically inventive compositions are lesser known. His 12 Sinfonie di Concerto Grosso (1715) probably began life as Overtures or Symphonies to accompany the Operas which Alessandro produced in abundance. The Modena Chamber Orchestra - Leader: Francesco Calvi.
8: Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757): (from BMC 8) Harpsichord Sonata in d minor, K.52 / L.267. Just as Vivaldi wrote "hundreds" of Concertos, so Domenico Scarlatti is known for his equally prolific Keyboard Sonatas. Originating in Naples, he was offered positions in Spain and Portugal, where he absorbed with alacrity the local folk tunes and rhythms, especially the gypsy and flamenco, giving his Sonatas a unique identity. While many are extrovert and brilliant, others are movingly, dramatically solemn. This Sonata in d minor is given a suitably rich and arresting performance by Valda Aveling on her Goff harpsichord.
9: Henry Purcell (1659 -1695): Trio Sonata No. 3 in a minor, Z 804 - (from BMC 9) 3: Adagio / 4: Canzona / 5: Allegro. Purcell, possibly the quintessentially English composer, produced many instrumental, vocal and choral works during his relatively short life. From the Trio Sonata 3 in a minor in the 1697 set of 10 we hear the last three movements. These works were intended for the entertainment of and performance by the growing London clubs of amateur musicians. Carl Pini & John Tunnell, Vlns. Harold Lester, Harpsichord
10: Willem van Wassenaer (1691-1766): Concerto in A Major (from BMC 15) 1: Grave / 2: Canone di Palestrina. A Dutch nobleman, wealthy and influential, Count Unico Willem van Wassenaer was also an amateur composer whose compositions were considerably better than his own modesty would admit. The Six Concerti Armonici, of which we hear the opening from the Concerto in A, were played by the Count's music-loving friends who pressured him against his will to have them published though the Count insisted on anonymity. The true composer of these works, previously attributed to Pergolesi, was only established in 1980.
11: Francesco Antonio Bonporti (1671-1749): Concerto a Quattro in F Major, Op. 11/5 (from BMC 11: Italian Baroque) 2: Recitativo (Adagio assai). From a little-known Italian composer, here is the wonderful Adagio from his Concerto in F - a little-known gem which deserves a place among the "Baroque Favorites" along with the Pachelbel Canon and the famous Albinoni Adagio. The Modena Chamber Orchestra - Francesco Calvi.
12: Telemann (1681-1767): Concerto in G Major for Two Violas & Strings (from BMC 13) 1: Avec douceur. The orchestral works of Hamburg composer and musician Georg Phillip Telemann are still much less known than they deserve. They are always tuneful, and show as much variety in instrumentation as those of Vivaldi. This first movement from his Concerto in G for 2 Violas proves both points.
13: Vivaldi (1678-1741): Concerto for Two Mandolins & Strings in G Major, RV 532 - (from BMC 12) 1: Allegro. Composing for Venice's Ospedale della Pieta, a well-endowed "orphanage" for the unofficial female offspring of noble dalliances, Vivaldi produced concertos featuring the many different instruments expertly performed by these talented young ladies.
14: Tomaso Antonio Vitali (1663-1745): Ciacona (from BMC 32, a CD devoted to the Chaconne.) The Chaconne (Chacony or Ciacona), a set of variations on a base melody, often a popular song, was a much-practiced baroque art, both popular, and more academically, expressing the baroque spirit of order, in music as in the universe. This wonderful Chaconne by little-known Italian composer Tomaso Antonio Vitali is based on the popular tune "La Follia" . The Modena Chamber Orchestra Leader & Solo Violinist: Francesco Calvi
15: Handel: Harpsichord Suite No. 4 in e minor, HWV 429 (from BMC 23) Opening Fugue. Performed by Christopher Wood (see also Track 4 above) we hear one of Handel's finest and best-developed keyboard fugues, this from Suite No. 4.
16: Handel: Chandos Anthem VI Psalm 42 1: Sonata / 2: Chorus "As Pants the Hart for cooling streams". German-born Handel came to England when the House of Hanover took succession to the English throne. Though always associated with royalty, Handel soon left the somewhat stifling Court atmosphere and took up a position with the wealthy Lord Chandos, for whom he wrote the Anthems bearing the Chandos name. Fresh, early works, they emanate a peaceful, tranquil quality of great beauty and delicacy. (BMC 37 & 38: The 6 Chandos Anthems). Collegium Musicum of Rutgers University.
17: Purcell: Overture from "Abdelazer" (1695), Z570 (from BMC 10) 1: French Ouverture / 2: Rondeau / 3: Air. Purcell wrote much incidental music for stage plays, the somewhat subdued forerunners of the Operas with which Handel would later regale London audiences. Here is the music for the play Abdelazer, part of which was later used by Benjamin Britten as the theme for his "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra". Accademia Monteverdiana - Denis Stevens.
18: Purcell: Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, 1692 from BMC 40. Chorus: "Soul of the world, inspired by thee, The jarring seeds of matter did agree. Thou didst the scattered atoms bind Which by the laws of true proportion joined, Made up of various parts, one perfect harmony". In 1683 a group of gentlemen amateurs and professional musicians started a "Musical Society" in London to celebrate the "Festival of St. Cecilia, a great patroness of music" a Festival which any music-lover so desirous may still celebrate yearly on November 22nd. They asked Henry Purcell, then only 24, to be the first to write an Ode for their festivals; Purcell was to compose two more such Odes for the Society. A magnificent chorus to end Disc One! Alfred Deller, counter-tenor, Ambrosian Singers.
Total Time: 79:49
Disc 2 - ORYX 502|
1: Cernohorsky (1684-1742): Czech composer Bohuslav Cernohorsky, though little-known, is ranked by many as the "Bohemian Bach". His magnificent four-part Motet in honor of St Stephen who was stoned by the Jews as he prayed to Christ, Quem Lapidaverunt Judiae Orantem is an exceptional piece of descriptive writing in which the almost brutal fugal treatment dramatically conveys the reigning down of stones upon the martyr. (BMC 27: Bohemian Baroque). Prague Choral Society Cond: Josef Veselka
2: Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745): Hypocondria a 7 Concertanti in A Major (from BMC 31) 1:Grave. Born in Prague, Zelenka spent most of his working life at the Court of Dresden. Zelenka produces music with his own unique musical phrases, combining frequent surprising twists of harmony which catch the listener unawares yet always seem to please, such as in this movement which surprises with an early tango rhythm! Pro Musica Bohemica Conductor: Karel Vohanka
3: Diderik Buxtehude (1637-1707): Prelude, Fugue & Chaconne in C Major (BMC 25). North German composer Diderik Buxtehude provided much early inspiration for J.S. Bach. One of Buxtehude's specialities was the complex, toccata-like organ piece, in which prelude, fugue and chaconne merge seamlessly one into the other. The present performance by Lionel Rogg introduces the pedal-harpsichord, which can be every bit as dramatic as the organ.
4: Johann Joseph Fux (1660-1741): Trio Sonata in g minor for 2 Violins & Basso Continuo. 1: Ouverture in French Style. Our "Fux Disc" disc BMC 28 shows Fux, Court-composer and music-director to the Emperor Leopold I, in intimate mood, with a selection of works for chamber ensemble and clavichord. Jörg-Wolfgang Jahn & Gudurn Hermann, Violins, Marga Scheurich, Harpsichord.
5: Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713): Concerto Grosso in F Major, Op.6/6. (from BMC 4: A Baroque Concert) 1:Adagio-Allegro. Corelli is often referred to as the "Father of the Baroque". Certainly many eminent baroque musicians studied with him, including Handel when he visited Rome. The Milan Baroque Soloists.
6: Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Gloria in D Major, RV 589 (from BMC 19: Vivaldi Gloria, and The Four Seasons) 10: Chorus: Quoniam tu solus sanctus / 11: Chorus: Cum sancto Spiritu. Though Vivaldi is best known for his many Concertos, he also produced some stirring sacred choral works. These final movements from the Gloria in D are here given a stirring performance by the Vienna Academy Chorus & State Opera Orchestra, Cond: Hermann Scherchen
7: Handel:Concerto Grosso No.4 in a minor, Op. 6 (from BMC 18: The Baroque Concerto) - 3: Largo e piano / 4: Allegro. Handel's 12 Concerti Grossi Opus 6 were composed for string orchestra, fairly quiet and reflective pieces somewhat reminiscent of his Italian teacher Corelli. Modena Chamber Orchestra.
8: Buxtehude: Cantata "Alles, was Ihr tut mit Worten oder mit Werken", (All that Ye do in Word or Deed, let it be in the Name of Jesus) Sinfonia & Chorus. More Buxtehude (see Track 3), once again demonstrating his style of seamless merging of "movements", but this time in a choral cantata performed by the Greifswald Cathedral Choir and the Berlin Bach Orchestra. This work was typical of Buxtehude's Abendmusiken his much-loved Evening Concerts of Choral and Organ Music. (from BMC 29: Buxtehude: Abendmusik A Choral and Organ Concert).
9: Enrico Albicastro (c.1670-1738): Concerto a 4 in b minor, Op. 7/7 Opening & closing movements. A well-to-do and talented violinist and composer, Heinrich Weissenburg von Biswang (Albicastro in his "Italian version") was born in Switzerland. Settling in the Low Countries, his concert schedule was as relatively demanding as those known to virtuosi of our own time. His Concertos Opus 7, from which we hear part of the seventh, are highly varied and entertaining. Accademia Monteverdiana, Conductor: Denis Stevens. (From BMC 17): Vivaldi "La Cetra" Concertos , and Albicastro).
10: Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706): "Hexachordum Apollinis" 1699 for Harpsichord: Partita No. 6 (from BMC 30) Theme and two Variations. Nuremberg-born Pachelbel's crowning achievement as a composer of variations is his Hexachordum Apollinis (1699), a group of six arias with variations (called Partitas). The title refers to the six strings of the God Apollo's lyre. Marga Scheurich, Harpsichord (Neupert).
11: Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745): Trio Sonata No. 3 in B-flat Major - (from BMC 31) Opening Adagio. In this is the first movement from his Trio Sonata 3 in B flat, the bassoon is here given an active contrapuntal role along with the violin and oboe, bringing a corresponding richness to the whole texture. Pro Musica Bohemica
12: Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762): Concerto Grosso No. 1 in D Major, Op. 5 1: Grave-Allegro-Adagio / 2: Allegro. A renowned violinist, part-time music publisher and art dealer, Geminiani set himself up in London where he rapidly gained popularity. As a pupil of Corelli who was then highly popular in England, Geminiani based his earliest published concertos on his former teacher's Sonatas for Violin and Continuo, Op.5. From this set of 12 Concertos we hear the first two movements of Concerto 3. The complete set is available on BMC 33-34). The Modena Chamber Orchestra
13: Alessandro Marcello (1669-1750): Oboe Concerto in c minor (from BMC 14: Oboe Concertos) 1: Allegro. Marcello sang, composed, and played the violin. Here is the first movement from his Oboe Concerto in c. It is a compliment to this concerto that Bach transcribed it for solo harpsichord. Han de Vries, Oboe The Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Conductor: David Zinman.
14: Vivaldi: Sonata in C Major, Op. 13/5, for Hurdy-gurdy & Oboe. Of all the instruments for which Vivaldi composed, the Hurdy-Gurdy, a sort of mechanical violin, is perhaps the most unusual. Associated with performance in the countryside by farmers and shepherds, this rough-sounding instrument rarely appears in "classical" works, though it gained popularity among the French nobility for a while, perhaps because of its very rusticity. (BMC 35: Music for Strange and Diverse Instruments).
15: Handel: Organ Concerto in g minor, Op. 7/5 - 2: Andante Larghetto (Chaconne). Handel's Organ Concertos started life as interval music in his Operas. Handel was a great improviser, and one of his favorite forms was the Chaconne. As a set of variations on a tune or bass line, it lends itself readily to improvisation. This wonderful Chaconne from the Organ Concerto Op 7/5 is given a masterly performance by Karl Richter with his own Karl Richter Chamber Orchestra of Munich. (BMC 22: Handel Organ Concertos Opus 7 complete).
16: Vivaldi (1678-1779): "La Cetra" - Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op.9 1: Allegro. Vivaldi produced several "prestige" sets of concertos for which he arranged publication. The set of 12 concertos entitled La Cetra (The Lyre), was published in Amsterdam as Opus 9. Vivaldi Editor Peter Ryom: "Musically speaking, Vivaldi's Opus 9 is one of the finest and most interesting collections he has left us (The 12 Concertos are available on BMC 16 and BMC 17). Accademia Monteverdiana, Denis Stevens.
17: Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Anthem "Rejoice in the Lord Alway", also known as The Bell Anthem for its downward peals of bells, was composed in the early 1680's and reflects the taste of Charles II, a "bright and airy prince", who "ordered the composers of his chapel to add symphonies, etc. with instruments to their Anthems." From BMC 39 here is the Opening Chorus. The Deller Consort.
18: Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767): Oboe Concerto in f minor (from BMC 14: Oboe Concertos) 1: Allegro. The oboe was just becoming popular as a "concerto instrument"; Telemann was a pioneer, whom Albinoni and Vivaldi would follow in composing concertos for this instrument. Willy Ulsamer, Oboe / The Zurich Baroque Ensemble
19: Handel: Concerto Grosso in d minor, Op. 3/5 1: Ouverture / 2: Fuga (Allegro). Whereas Handel's 12 Concerti Grossi Opus 6 are all scored for strings and are reminiscent of Corelli, the 6 Concertos of Opus 3 are later works and much more varied. (BMC 41: Handel Opus 3 complete + 2 Oboe Concertos). The London Baroque Orchestra, Alexander Hamilton
20: Handel: Coronation Anthem "Let Thy Hand be Strengthened" - (from BMC 44: Handel - Coronation Anthems + 3 Concerti a Due Cori ). The Coronation of George II and his consort Queen Caroline at Westminster Abbey on October 11th, 1727 was, by contemporary reports, an occasion of "great magnificence". The music which Handel provided for the occasion was no less magnificent. Here is the opening Sinfonia/Chorus, and to close our disc the final Alleluia, given a rousing performance by the Ambrosian Singers under Yehudi Menuhin.
Total Time: 79:43
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