Gérard Lesne founded the Il Seminario musicale Ensemble in 1985. Since 1990, the Ensemble has been in residence at the Royaumont Foundation, where it attracts vocalists and instrumentalists who share Lesne's enthusiam for the 17th and 18th century Italian repertoire. The musicians perform on old instruments and strive to reproduce as faithfully as possible the lilt and narrative line characteristic of the baroque style as expressed in works by composers such as Monteverdi, Cavalli, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Caldara, Pergolesi, and the others. The size of the ensemble is variable depending on the repertoire. Based on a rich and varied continuo section (theorbo, cello, basson, double bass, organ and harpsichord) supporting one or more soloists, it can be expanded with the addition of a string quartet to make a small chamber orchestra suitable for performing chamber operas. Responsibility for the Ensemble's musical direction is shared by the instrumentalists and vocalists.
A hundred years after her birth, there are still plenty of lessons to be learned from listening to Ella Fitzgerald. But that s not the only takeaway that Regina Carter has gleaned from Ella s storied career. On her new album, Ella: Accentuate the Positive, the virtuoso violinist reveals the many aspects of Fitzgerald that have influenced her own remarkable path in music. That translates to an album that avoids the more obvious song choices in favor of more obscure though no less rewarding tunes from deep inside Ella s bountiful catalogue. Instead of trying to echo Fitzgerald s own choices and arrangements, or attempting the near-impossible task of evoking her beloved voice on the violin, Carter has done what has always set her apart followed her own dauntless instincts, resulting in a singular new take on both familiar and hidden classics.
This superb disc of music by one of Spain's most talented early 16th century composers is exactly the sort of boost that the less well-known repertoire needs in its search for a place in today's CD collection. It is in every way a model of what a recording of Renaissance polyphony ought to be… The all male vocal ensemble sings with enormous conviction as well as firm control of rhythm and phrasing. Combining the voices with energetically played sackbuts produces a rich and dark-hued sound that feels authentically Spanish, and does full justice to this very fine music.