Georg Philipp Telemann's string concertos position themselves somewhere between the polyphonic complexity of the Bach orchestral sinfonias, the urbanity of Handel's concerti grossi, and Vivaldi's innumerable and endlessly delightful works of this type. But his approach always remained the most international as well as the most local. Two of these concertos, for example, exemplify the "Polish" style appropriate for the Electors of Saxony (Telemann's employers, who were also kings of Poland), with their folky rhythms and groaning bass parts. Telemann offers a bit of the French style galant here or Italian theatricality there–he's labeled one of the movements "Arlechinoso"–as the mood and moment suit him. Reinhard Goebel and the Musica Antiqua Köln dress these motleys with typical panache, a liveliness that argues once again for the validity of the period-instruments approach. One can well imagine Telemann hearing his music performed this way and nodding in approval. What the players have brought to Johann David Heinichen and some of the Baroque composers of the Baltic states serves them perfectly here: the conviction that while not all 18th-century music may match Bach's profundity, much of it nevertheless shows us a very good time. And that Telemann, perhaps, can show us the best time of all.–Robert Burns
Essential: a masterpiece of prog rock music.
Solaris' Marsbéli Krónikák is one of the few shining lights that got unnoticed during that bleak 1980s period of progressive rock, not to mention the fact that very few people in the West ever heard this album. It wasn't until the 1990s and exposure on the Internet, plus someone taking the time to reissue this on CD that the West finally got to hear this amazing gem from this five-piece instrumental band from Hungary. I first discovered the band by reading their entry in the GEPR in the late 1990s.
Since the release of their first album, ‘Imbarca’, Barcelona Gipsy Klezmer Orchestra (aka BGKO) has constantly been on tour. During this touring period, many great musicians would often join to play with the band. So BGKO invited some of these musicians, these living legends, to play and record as a soloist in their concerts and new album. King of saxophone from Macedonia Ferus Mustafov, poet of gipsy music Vlado Kreslin and Turkish jazz singer Nihan Devecioglu are featured as guests on this album. The energetic vibe of the first album is still very present, and these solo additions make it even more exciting.
The four stylistically contrasting concertos of this recording represent the technical and expressive range achieved by Johann Joachim Quantz during his long career in the service of the King. Although the music of the Baroque period was becoming less fashionable and being favoured by the gallant style of composers like Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Quantz continued to write in a more conservative style, which pleased the Kings tastes. Flutist Eric Lamb is in demand internationally as a concerto soloist, recitalist, concert curator and chamber musician.
With her new album Simone Kermes presents her dedication to bel canto. Despite the title the Baroque soprano hasn’t suddenly switched from one voice type to another but is simply following her own interpretation of this term, arguing that bel canto is “inconceivable without reference to the Baroque tradition”.
The album centres around famous arias of the belcanto soprano repertoire: “Casta Diva“ from Bellini’s Norma, “O luce di quest’ anima“ from Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix and “Dolce pensiero“ from Rossini’s Semiramide.
The programme also features a number of rarely performed works: Airas of Mercadantes “Virginia“, Rossini’s “Maometto Secondo“, Donizetti’s “Betly“ or Bellini’s “Adelson e Salvini“. As a connecting link between baroque and bel canto Kermes added the two arias of the Queen of Night from Mozart’s Magic Flute. Simone Kermes is accompanied by Concerto Cöln, performing on period instruments.
If you can tolerate Dirk Vermeulen’s rigidly vibrato-less strings versus winds and brass that play with far more color, expression, and, yes, a smidgen of vibrato, it is worth the effort for pianist Klára Würtz’s incandescent handling of the Mozart K. 271 and K. 467 concertos’ solo parts. She consistently shapes echoed phrases with contrast and character, and creates appropriate vocal-inspired tension in the slow-movement melodies’ wide interval leaps.