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Project Harmonia Mundi - Part 12

Posted By: Flush

Telemann: Traueractus, Cantates [HMC901768] Konrad Junghänel & Cantus Cölln
Classical | Ape (Single Tracks) dbPowerAMP | 1CD/326MB | Covers+Tracklist |

No composer achieved greater renown in Baroque Germany than Telemann; even Johann Sebastian Bach suffered from his position of supremacy. Telemann composed some 1,500 sacred cantatas, taking the genre into new territories with an exegetic commentary and above all an expressiveness often reminiscent of the language of opera.
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Berlioz: La Mort de Sardanapale [HMC901542] Jean-Claude Casadesus & Orchestra National de Lille
Classical | Ape (Single Tracks) dbPowerAMP | 1CD/240MB | Small Front Cover+Booklet |

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Brumel: Missa 'Et ecce terrae motus' [HMC901738] Dominique Visse & Ensemble Clement Janequin
Classical | Ape (Single Tracks) dbPowerAMP | 1CD/255MB | Covers |

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Couperin: L'Apotheose de Lulli [HMC901269] William Christie, Christophe Rousset
Classical | EAC APE+CUE+LOG | 1CD/358MB | Front Cover+Booklet |

Francois Couperin is considered by many to be a composer of lighthearted, and therefore only lightly considered, music. It goes without saying that Couperin has, as a result, been underestimated. These recordings won't rectify the matter, but they do show how Couperin adapted a terrific sense of humor to the task of composition. The thesis of the two apotheoses (composed in 1724) is that one was for Corelli and one for Lulli, and that the pair addressed the debate between the Italian and French styles of composition in the 18th century. Couperin went to great lengths to make his intent clear, although he peppered the discursive titles here with humorous mythological associations. Musically, these are scintillating pieces–especially for fans of the harpsichord, but even for those who react negatively to the instrument's sometimes-tingly sensations. William Christie and Christophe Rousset move very quickly across the keyboards, following Couperin's pacing brilliantly. But they also play exceptionally hard, especially on parts of the Lulli piece, sometimes whipping the piece to a feverish intensity. This is also a fine point of contrast with the Astree chamber version of these pieces.

Andrew Bartlett,
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Couperin: Les Idees Heureuses 'Hommage a Francois Couperin' [HMC901275] Davitt Moroney
Classical | Ape (Single Tracks) dbPowerAMP | 1CD/447MB | Small Front Cover+Tracklist |

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Holborne: My Selfe [HMU907238] Paul O'Dette, The King's Noyse
Classical | Ape (Single Tracks) dbPowerAMP | 1CD/309MB | Covers+Tracklist |

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La Roux: Piéces de Clavecin [HMC901660] Lisa Crawford, Mitzi Meyerson
Classical | Ape (Single Tracks) dbPowerAMP | 1CD/391MB | Covers |

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Marcello: Estro Poetico-Armonico [HMC901696] Menno Van Delft, Konrad Junghänel & Cantus Cöln
Classical | Ape (Single Tracks) dbPowerAMP | 1CD/247MB | Small Front Cover |

It's a funny thing, the way reputations rise and fall and fade. Nowadays, Antonio Vivaldi is about as well-known as a Baroque composer can be, while his contemporary Benedetto Marcello is familiar to only a few (so far). Yet in early 18th-century Venice, both composers were equally respected–in fact, Marcello's music was performed regularly as late as 1790, while Vivaldi's music was considered passé 50 years earlier. Benedetto Marcello, as the scion of a prominent and wealthy Venetian family, didn't have to please the music-buying public (as Vivaldi did) to make a living–and he took advantage of the freedom to follow his own muse. Where Vivaldi stuck closely to established, recognizable forms (such as the ABA da capo aria and the slow-fast-slow-fast church sonata), Marcello subordinated his musical setting to the text in much the way Monteverdi, Cavalli, and Schütz did a century earlier.
In Estro poetico-armonico, a collection of Italian-language Psalm-settings for one to four solo voices, this means that the scoring, meter and/or key may change–sometimes quite abruptly–whenever there's a new idea in the text. The result sometimes seems disjointed or even downright weird, but the music is often quite lovely–and arguably very appropriate for the Psalms, whose sudden changes of mood and imagery have confounded more than one reader. Members of Cantus Cölln–here, just four singers and continuo–give a sensitive and skillful performance of five selections from the Estro. On first hearing, one might wish for more Italian-style extroversion, but the more you listen, the more subtlety, intelligence, and feeling you'll find. It's always that way with Cantus Cölln–the better you know them, the more admirable they seem.

Matthew Westphal,
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Rosenmüller: Weihnachtshistorie [HMC901861] Konrad Junghänel & Cantus Cölln, Concerto Palatino
Classical | Ape (Single Tracks) dbPowerAMP | 1CD/321MB | Small Front Cover |

Belonging to the same tradition as the celebrated Weihnachtshistorie of his teacher Schütz, these sacred concertos by Rosenmüller date from the period 1645-50, when the young composer was enjoying a rapid rise to eminence in the good city of Leipzig. Long before his enforced exile in Venice for ‘unnatural vice’, a typically Italian suavity is already clearly perceptible all through these remarkable settings of St Luke’s account of the Nativity. Cantus Cölln returns here to its favourite repertoire, eight years after a first release devoted to the same composer’s Vesper music.
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Scarlatti: Il Primo Omicido [HMC901649.50] Fink, Röschmann, Rene Jacobs & Akademie Für Alte Musik Berlin
Classical | Ape (Single Tracks) dbPowerAMP | 2CD/657MB | Covers+Tracklist |

Music’s first murder. The slaying of Abel by his brother Cain was one of the favourite subjects of the 18th century Italians, at the time when the oratorio was having a phenomenal success in Rome and Venice. It was most probably in one of the palaces of the “Serenissima”, and not a church, that Scarlatti first performed this astonishing “sacred entertainment”, worthy of a “verismo” opera, in 1707… God and Lucifer confront each other in the very soul of Cain, his brother’s voice is heard from heaven, and the “spatial” treatment of the tonal levels all contribute to the effectiveness of what is almost expressionistic music – there is nothing left out of this incredible Baroque Biblical “thriller”!
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Vivaldi: Concertos Pour Violoncelle Vol.2 [HMC901745] Roel Dieltiens & Ensemble Explorations
Classical | Ape (Single Tracks) dbPowerAMP | 1CD/343MB | Covers+Booklet |

In the early eighteenth century, 'Vivaldi fever' spread from Venice across the whole of Europe. Vivaldi began the fashion for concertos in which one or more instrumentalists appeared as soloists in front of the orchestra; like singers at the opera. The way Vivaldi bewitched his audience when himself played the violin has come down the centuries and continues to enchant today's listeners.
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