Every year at this time, I create a list of suggestions for holiday gift giving. Starting November 20th and continuing through December, you can audition some of my recommendations from the annual Sunday Baroque Holiday Gift list. All of us at Sunday Baroque wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season filled with laughter, peace and an abundance of good music!
Sunday Baroque Holiday Gift List 2016
Sono Luminus DSL-92203
Ayreheart is a quartet whose repertory is eclectic, and this 2016 release features renaissance music by John Dowland and William Byrd alongside traditional folk songs, performed on lutes and voice. Ronn McFarlane (lute), Brian Kay (lute, guitar and voice), Will Morris (colascione, violin, mandolin) and Mattias Rucht (percussion) are the core members of Ayreheart. A spirited and fresh take on some appealing tunes.
BAROQUE SESSION ON PIANO
Luc Beausejour – piano
Analekta AN 2 9128
Luc Beausejour is an expert harpsichordist and organist, but this recording features his performances of baroque music on piano. He selected music that was most appealing to him personally and seemed to work best on piano. The collection includes music by JS Bach, D. Scarlatti, Handel, F. Couperin, Rameau, and H. Purcell. Beausejour brings his knowledge and sensitivity to historic performance practice to these modern instrument presentations.
National Arts Center Orchestra of Canada, Pinchas Zukerman
Analekta AN2 8783
This is a nice sample of some familiar baroque music played on modern instruments. It opens with Handel’s zippy Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, and includes JS Bach’s beloved Orchestral Suite #3 and Concerto in c for oboe and violin, among other works. An appealing and enjoyable sampler collection!
COMEDIE ET TRAGEDIE VOLUME 2
Tempesta di Mare
Chaconne CHAN 0810
Orchestral music for the theatre by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Jean-Philippe Rameau and Jean-Marie Leclair. The Philadelphia ensemble Tempesta di Mare is a topnotch group known for superlative playing and imaginative programming. They breathe new life into undeservedly neglected music and composers, and this recording is another terrific example of their fine work.
AN EVENING WITH WILHEMINE
John Schneiderman – lute, Jeffrey Cohan – flute, William Skeen – cello
Hanssler Classic HC 15048
A lovely chamber music collection of interesting repertory by Adam Falckenhagen, who worked for Princess Wilhemine. (sister of King Frederick the Great of Prussia) Light and pretty, this is less well-known music that deserves to be heard.
GEMINIANI SONATAS FOR CELLO OP.5
Four Nations Ensemble
Orchid Classics 100049
Four Nations Ensemble is comprised of cellist Loretta O’Sullivan, harpsichordist Andrew Appel and continuo cellist Beiliang Zhu. Italian violinist and composer Francesco Geminiani published six Cello Sonatas in 1746 in Paris, at a time when the viola da gamba’s popularity was waning, and the cello was on the ascent as a solo instrument. These imaginative Sonatas are beautifully played by the excellent Four Nations Ensemble.
G.Ph. TELEMANN – THE DOUBLE CONCERTOS WITH RECORDER
Erik Bosgraaf – recorder, Ensemble Cordevento
Brilliant Classics 95249
Georg Philipp Telemann was a multi-talented musician who was skilled at playing several instruments. He was particularly talented on recorder, and this new recording features a virtuoso recorder player collaborating with other instrumentalists to play Telemann’s double concertos for recorder. These are fine performances of interesting repertory.
ANTONIO VIVALDI CONCERTI PER DUE VIOLINI
Giuliano Carmignola – violin, Amandine Beyer – violin, Gli Incogniti
Harmonia Mundi HMC 902249
Antonio Vivaldi was a fantastic violin player, and he composed many Concertos featuring his instrument. Two outstanding baroque violin players – Giuliano Carmignola and Amandine Beyer – teamed up to play seven of Vivaldi’s Concertos for Two Violins. The expert interplay between soloists and ensemble offers double the rhythmic drive and energy, and double the artistry.
THE PERFECT SOUTHERN ART
John Bullard – banjo, Various musicians
Bullard Music JB100
And now for something completely different! John Bullard shows the expressive, classical side of the banjo playing music by baroque composers A. Marcello, Telemann, Handel, and JS Bach, as well as music by Schumann and Grieg. He assembled a topnotch ensemble to present lovely and respectful transcriptions of familiar music including JESU, JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING, and Marcello’s OBOE CONCERTO IN D MINOR. This is great introduction to the classical tradition for a novice, and fun for someone who knows the repertory well and appreciates a fresh take.