Anyone who enjoys Mozart opera should hear this disc. Yet quite a few people who'd probably love it to death if they listened are going to pass it by. Why? Well, look at the selections - it's not exactly a 'greatest hits' selection in the truly popular sense. Lucio Silla, Il re pastore, Mitridate, Zaïde - hardly front rank Mozart operas in the public consciousness; with Die Entführung we're getting closer - and suddenly you spot track 2, Pamina's gorgeous lament to lost love from The Magic Flute: 'Ach, ich fühl's' - anyone who hears Sandrine Piau singing this famous number will want to experience the rest of the recording no matter what.
When Bach was in the service of Prince Leopold in Coethen, he had his own orchestra and was contracted to compose a great deal of instrumental music. This gave him an opportunity to try new techniques and to develop his own instrumental style. The six Brandenburg Concertos belongs to these masterpieces for a small ensemble. This joyously infectious performance of these famous landmarks in the history of music by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra demonstrates both the musical satisfaction and the high professional standard that can be reached with period instruments.
Bach's three well-known Violin Concertos are paired here with a splendid concerto for three violins, reconstructed from the surviving version for three harpsichords, BWV 1064. The composer's fascination with the Italian solo concerto, which resulted in numerous arrangements and compositions, dates to his second Weimar period from 1708 to 1717. However, current research has revealed that Bach wrote the violin concertos around 1720, during his engagement as Kapellmeister in Cöthen. On this recording, soloists Petra Mullejans, Gottfried von der Goltz, and Anne Katharina Schreiber are backed by the matchless Freiburger Barockorchester in dazzling readings of these evergreen favorites.
Of the 29 million recordings of Vivaldi's perennial masterpiece the Four Seasons, this astoundingly beautiful, astonishingly virtuosic recording by Gottfried von der Goltz and the Freiburger Barockorchester with Andrew Lawrence-King directing the Harp Consort on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi runs a little bit back from the head of the pack. Because, with 29 million recordings, it's hard to take the lead. So while von der Goltz plays with a piquant tone and a pungent technique, plus enough panache to put across even the most hoary old phrases; and the Barockorchester plays with superb poise and supreme skill, plus enough tone color to shade every subtlety of the Four Seasons; and Deutsche Harmonia Mundi's sound has enough polish and punch, plus enough presence, to make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, there are still a good two-dozen recordings as fine as this one…
Freiburger Barockorchester (Freiburg Baroque Orchestra) is a German orchestra founded in 1987, with the mission statement: "to enliven the world of baroque music with new sounds". They are based in Freiburg im Breisgau, hence the name, and have recently started performed works by later composers such as Beethoven, Schubert and Weber as well as contemporary music.
"It's a glorious performance… McGegan inspires incisive, darkly dramatic orchestral playing…[and] Hunt's burnished mezzo combines fire with a poignant intensity that breaks your heart." "A milestone of the Handel renaissance of the last decade"
"Vivaldi’s music enjoyed a cult following in Dresden after its introduction by the composer’s pupil Johann Pisendel, and listening to these works it is not hard to hear why. The two G minor concertos are scored for violin, two recorders, two oboes and strings (with an extra solo oboe in RV576), while the F majors both deploy a line-up of violin, two oboes, two horns and strings – rich stuff, reflecting the sumptuous sound-world of the Electoral orchestra…" - GRAMOPHONE
…In short: the so-called "English Bach" is portrayed here in a very fascinating way; you only really regrets having so few comparisons to the reading of historical conductors.
…In short: an all around enjoyable and highly recommended CD!