Venice to Hamburg
Hear how the Italian ‘stylus fantasticus’ crossed the Alps to the centres of Habsburg culture, then on north to Hamburg, with music by Valentini, Schmelzer, Weckmann, and others. ‘Venice to Hamburg’ centres on pieces for an unusual combination of instruments – violin, cornetto, sackbut (trombone), dulcian (bassoon), and basso continuo – improvisatory in character, and jazz-like also in the way that each instrument is in turn given a solo spot. A warning: this CD contains ear-worms!
Giovanni Valentini (1582–1649): Sonata à 4 in G minor
Giovanni Valentini: Canzon in D minor for cornetto, sackbut, and basso continuo
Johann Jakob Froberger (1616–67): Toccata no. 2 in D minor for harpsichord
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (c. 1620–80): ‘La Cariolatta’, sonata à 4 in G major
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer: Sonata no. 3 in G minor for violin and basso continuo
Matthias Weckmann (c. 1620–74): Sonata no. 3 à 4 in C major
Philipp Friedrich Böddecker (1607–83): Sonata sopra ‘La Monica’ in G minor for dulcian, violin and basso continuo
Biagio Marini (1594–1663): ‘La Rizza’, canzone à 4 in D minor
Matthias Weckmann: Toccata in E minor for harpsichord
Matthias Weckmann: Sonata no. 9 à 4 in D minor
The Bach Players:
Nicolette Moonen violin
Gawain Glenton cornetto / cornettino
Emily White sackbut
Krzysztof Lewandowski dulcian
Lynda Sayce theorbo
Silas Wollston organ / harpsichord
Recording & production
Producer: Roy Mowatt
Recording engineer: Alan Mosley
Editing and mastering: Nicholas Parker
Recorded at St Michael’s Church, Highgate, London, 27 to 29 August 2014
The accompanying 16-page booklet includes notes on the music by Gawain Glenton. There are photographs of the musicians in rehearsal and in concert. The CDs and booklet are held in a packet made of card and without plastic.
The Bach Players take us on a fascinating tour of the back streets and byways of Baroque music in this engaging CD, although as the note points out the prevailing view of the Baroque as a period of secondary composers from whom steps now and again a giant like Handel, Vivaldi or J. S. Bach is long overdue reconsideration. In their signature uncompromising performance style combining considerable musicality and virtuosity, the six instrumentalists give us the best of Giovanni Valentini, Froberger, Schmelzer, Weckmann and Marini, composers some of whose music I had already heard as well as Philipp Friedrich Böddecker of whom I haven’t knowingly heard at all. The performers take advantage of a crystal clear recording to pour energy and life into these works, which may be regarded as ‘mainstream Baroque’ but which in the hands of The Bach Players truly spring to life. I was particularly delighted by the radiant tone of the dulcian and the cornettino, but all of the instruments are played and captured in their full radiance. It seems that like programme planners drawing on later repertoire, devisers of Baroque programmes are all too often dazzled by the big names into neglecting the Frobergers and Marinis of this world, and this CD serves as a useful antidote to this. We have all we need here – excellent performances, vividly recorded, full and detailed programme notes and a bright cover to catch the eye!
D. James Ross, Early Music Review, April 2016
I always enjoy The Bach Players’ journeys on disc and with the addition of cornett and sackbut, with this new one we’re straight into one of my favourite sound-worlds.
Andrew MacGregor, CD Review, BBC Radio 3, 30 April 2016