‘This set of five discs is an invitation to a rather special journey: through what you hear, and what you read too, you will traverse, guided by the cello, not one history but several histories. With these Cello Stories, our intention is to show you how an instrument and its repertoire have taken shape whilst retaining the imprint and memory of diverse origins. I have selected the musical programme from my recordings for Alpha – some of them previously unreleased – to complement the text by Marc Vanscheeuwijck and numerous contemporary illustrations.’ –Bruno Cocset
…This CD indeed offers a new approach to Antonio Vivaldi with recordings of absolutely rare chamber repertoire. The sonatas are for violoncello solo, but are here performed with a variety of continuo instruments: harpsichord, organ, theorbo, guitar and double bass or violone. The whole is very closely and clearly recorded, giving the listener the opportunity to savour the delightful sound combinations and the intense violoncello playing of Bruno Cocset who, although definitely an early music specialist, here reminds me of Pablo Casals in the way he invests "soul" particularly in the slower movements…
Gerard Lesne has led a unique career: largely self-taught, he began as a jazz and rock singer who not only converted to more serious music, but became identified as one of the leading countertenors in the early music genre. He has sung with several early music ensembles, including the Clemencic Consort and with the group he founded, Il Seminario Musicale. The sound quality of Lesne's voice has been described as the male counterpart to the female contralto.
Ostinato is an anthology which brings together the most representative works of the art of improvisation and of a musical form based on a unique concept of the basso, which is repeated sequentially throughout the compositions.
"Every soul and spirit were in his harpsichord," dramatist Alexis Piron wrote about his friend Rameau. Listeners of today are often more inclined to prefer his operas. However, there is a wealth of wit, wisdom and joy in Rameau's harpsichord works. This collection of the complete 'Pièces pour clavecin', performed by Bertrand Cuiller with his customary finesse and passion, illuminates all of the beauty and virtuosity of these works. Bertrand Cuiller devotes his recital career to the solo harpsichord repertory, with a particular penchant for the English composers William Byrd and John Bull, whose music he has recorded for Mirare and Alpha.
It is only recently that two seemingly unconnected names, those of Vivaldi and the viola da gamba, have been uttered in the same breath. The established, uncontested view on the matter was quite simply this: from the middle of the 17th century, the viol, which was still flourishing north of the Alps, had all but disappeared in Italy, where it had been replaced by the bass violin and, subsequently, by the cello.