Georg Philipp Telemann's extant works for wind ensemble take us into the unique region between military music, hunting music, and court music. However, these ensembles were active not only at the courts as part of the military staff but also influenced middle-class life in the towns through the garrisons stationed in them. Telemann was familiar with these ensembles both in the court and civic spheres, and about twenty works survive today in the characteristic wind instrumentation with woodwind instruments and a pair of horns, ten quintets of more than one movement, ten marches, and a wind version of the so-called Alter Overture TWV 55:F11. This CD presents five Quintets for Two Oboes (or oboi d'amore), Two Horns, and Bassoon (thoroughbass) – interpreted by the L'Orfeo Baroque Ensemble, which was established in 2009 with members from the L'Orfeo Baroque Orchestra in order to apply the orchestra's approach to the orchestral literature in the genuine dimensions of a chamber ensemble.
Mysliveček, il divino Boemo (the title seems to have been a fictional exaggeration) was particularly associated with opera. But his instrumental works outnumber the operatic by some margin and some of his best-known works, to us at least, are his concertos. The years of his greatest triumphs were between about 1767 and 1777, a decade that saw foreign successes, meetings with Mozart and considerable operatic esteem. His Six Symphonies of 1772 are indebted to the Italianate three-movement form, which they have absorbed with considerable vivacity, and they show individual touches – modulations, wind solos and the like – that give them an individual stamp.
Of all the great composers, Schubert left by far the largest number of uncompleted works: symphonies, piano and chamber music, songs, choral music and operas. Six of the latter are represented on this disc the early 'Adrast' written around the age of twenty and 'Fierebras' written in 1823, five years before the sudden end of his short life. Schubert made many attempts to achieve success on the Viennese operatic stage but was singularly unlucky in doing so.
The orchestral suites on this enchanting new disc of Telemann are beautiful works, considered by some as the most difficult pieces Telemann wrote for recorder and oboe. The music fascinates from the first to the last note with its originality and this is due to its Polish inflection. Telemann once wrote "a Polish tune makes the whole world jig."
South African soloist Carin van Heerden is a founding member of the Austrian L'Orfeo Baroque Orchestra and performs with this orchestra regularly. Various CD's with this orchestra have been released on CPO and have brought international acclaim.
This is a great set. The main competition to this production comes from Gardiner, with Anthony Rolfe Johnson as Orfeo. His is a superbly attractive voice, and he remains the best Orfeo I've heard. But Victor Torres is excellent too and his performance is very distinctive and rich in character. What's more, he is better recorded, as is the whole of Garrido's interpretation…”
Jordi Savall directs Le Concert des Nations, La Capella Reial de Catalunya and the leading soloists of early opera in a beautiful period production of Monteverdi's favola in musica staged at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu in 2002. Gilbert Deflo's stage direction reflects the sublime art and imagery found in Mantua's Palazzo Ducale, with its famous Hall of Mirrors, where the opera was first performed in 1607.
This recording of Monteverdi's great tale of Orpheus in the underworld, the very first operatic masterpiece, was made live during the run of a production of Orfeo in the French city of Tourcoing in 2004. Orfeo is usually heard in studio recordings. A live performance using all of Monteverdi's unusual instruments of 1607 is difficult to put together; the work is large and expensive to produce, and it's hard to recoup those costs from audiences still generally unfamiliar with the music A studio performance will deliver the details of instrumentation that emerge from Monteverdi's giant orchestra in a way that a live recording cannot; the work followed directly in the tradition of the Florentine wedding spectaculars mounted by the Medici family, and Monteverdi had the resources to create all kinds of fabulous instrumental effects…
Familiar to UK audiences as a recitalist, Dietrich Henschel has been inexplicably neglected by this country's opera companies. You get a strong sense of what a theatrical animal he is, however, from his performance of the title role in this flawed but compelling production of L'Orfeo, filmed in Madrid last year. The subtlety of Henschel's acting matches the complexity of his vocal characterisation so that, by the end, you not only feel you've been taken on a vast journey from joy to grief and back again, but also believe that Orfeo's own music really has the power to affect both gods and nature…Tim Ashley
This is a reissue, sans libretto and with the liner notes chopped down from 30 pages to 10, of the recording initially reviewed in Fanfare 31:1 by J. M. Weber. But when I got around to playing the recording, I was so completely blown away by it that I felt compelled to review it; and as the performance progressed it suddenly dawned on me that I was listening to the greatest performance of L’Orfeo yet committed to disc.