Bach’s Goldberg Variations have played a central role in harpsichordist Pierre Hantai’s musical life since his early youth. At 28 he recorded the work for the Opus 111 label (now available on Naïve), a highly acclaimed release that stands among the work’s choice versions. Over the past 11 years Hantai evidently has rethought and refined his interpretation, as revealed in this 2003 remake. There’s greater rhythmic freedom and variety of articulation, plus a more subjective approach to ornaments and agogics, especially in the repeats (he observes all but those in Variation 15, 25, and the Aria Da Capo; the 1992 recording honors all repeats save for Variation 25). Variations previously characterized through Hantai’s seamless legato technique (Nos. 3, 6, 8, 11, 17, and 18, for example) are further enlivened by detaché finger strokes and more inflected phrasings. The latter infuse Variations 7, 10, and 16 with greater resilience and rhythmic verve than their earlier counterparts.
Youngest son of J.S. Bach, Johann Christian Bach rose to prominence in England during the early Classical period much the same as his father dominated the German Baroque. His writing was influenced by his father, of course, but also by the fashions being explored by Haydn. J.C. Bach also served as a bridge to Mozart, whose work and early writings were also influenced by the junior Bach. A total of 15, three-movement symphonies were published under Opp. 6, 9, and 18.
Given the considerable number of recordings that have tried to place Renaissance compositions within the context for which they were written, it is odd that the same has so rarely been done for Bach. After all, most of Bach's output consists of Gebrauchsmusik, music written for daily use. This release by Scotland's historical-instrument Dunedin Consort and its leader John Butt shows the possibilities of this approach.
From the Middle Ages Hamburg was an economically important city, especially since it joined the Hanseatic League. Its economic position resulted in many political conflicts, in particular with Denmark with which it was in almost constant rivalry. It also had led to Hamburg being declared an imperial city in 1510. Because of this the city couldn't count on the protection provided by the imperial army and had to organise its own defence. The city founded a civic guard for defence from attacks from outside as well as for deployment in the fighting of natural catastrophes. From 1619 it was a permanent institution.
Germany's CPO label has presented the efforts of performers who have doggedly unearthed unknown music of various periods, especially the eighteenth century. With the voluminous corpus of concertos by Telemann, many of which exist only in manuscript, they enter a field with a lot of still-uncharted territory. This set of wind concertos is one of the label's most useful releases despite a few quirks.
Winter Morning Walks is the first partnership between Schneider and Upshaw, bringing together two preeminent figures in jazz and classical music. Schneider has been commissioned to compose for jazz orchestras and artists all over the world, has won two GRAMMY Awards and has been nominated for several more. Writing for TIME Magazine, Terry Teachout said, "To call Schneider the most important woman in jazz is missing the point two ways. She's a major composer-period." Upshaw was also deemed "one of the most consequential performers of our time" by the LA TIMES, is a multiple GRAMMY winner and MacArthur Fellow, and has performed at the Metropolitan Opera over 300 times. In 2004 Schneider pioneered the fan-funding model by becoming the first artist to sign with ArtistShare® to release 'Concert In The Garden,' the first web-exclusive recording to win a GRAMMY.
Abel published quite a few chamber works with flute, meeting the demand for new music by the many gentleman flutists in England. The flute concertos contained here, despite their opus number, were never published, but are found in a manuscript held in Leipzig which can be dated prior to 1759. Stylistically these works have left the Baroque far behind, with regular phrases, simple basses , broad harmonic movement. The melodies make ample use of lombardic rhythms and syncopations and the florid passaggi sparkles with triplets and scalar passages in sixteenths. Though there are occasional harmonic complications which recall Abel's background, the overall tone here is that of the Enlightenment. Who can Abel have written these works for?