Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A charming Baroque compilation from Sweden


The new Telemann Corelli Bach album by the new Swedish group Höör Barock is full of special touches, with a background of stylish, historically-informed performance. Corelli's Christmas Concerto op. 6 no. 8, for example, includes two solo recorder parts, played here by Emilie Roos and group leader Dan Laurin. Along with oboes and bassoon in the tutti, and the special appearance of a baroque harp in the final movement, this charmingly rustic pastoral scene is a nice change from the strings-only version we hear many times every Holiday Season. There's a similar familiar/unfamiliar situation with Bach's Harpsichord Concerto in F major, the composer's own arrangement of his Fourth Brandenburg Concerto. This is run through in brisk fashion, with splendid playing by Anna Paradiso at the keyboard. The harpsichord sound works well in this odd mixture of solo and continuo instrument; the BIS engineers have struck the right balance, I think, between blending in and sticking out. Of the rest of the music, the stand-out work is Telemann's splendid Ouverture-Suite ‘Hamburger Ebb und Fluth’, with its energetic and graceful dances. This new recording tends to be rather light and frothy, with its considerable charm more on the surface. I still prefer the classic, more dignified version by Musica Antiqua Köln under Reinhard Goebel. But I'm glad to have heard this excellent compilation from one of Sweden's greatest exports: BIS.  The record drops January 6, 2017.

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