Handel - Concerti grossi, Op. 6 Nos. 1-6 (2019)

Handel

Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin

Exclusives

The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin kickstarts their Handel trilogy with this recording of the first six concerti grossi op. 6. Originally designed as attractive interludes to English oratorio performances, Handel’s concerti grossi soon gained fame as the most appealing orchestral music of the baroque era. Written in London in 1739, towards the end of his career, Handel paid tribute to the immensely popular concerti grossi of Corelli while simultaneously proving his mastery incorporating all musical styles of his time. Led by their concertmaster Bernhard Forck, the players of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin demonstrate why many consider them the best baroque ensemble of today. This first installment will be followed by the last six concerti grossi op. 6, as well as a recording of the concerti grossi op. 3.

Handel wrote the first six Concerti Grossi published as op. 6 in just over two weeks, from September 29 to October 15, 1739 (the final six were completed before Hallowe'en). You can hear the rush of inspiration in these works in a way that few pieces of music can match. I think of Mozart's piano concertos from the spring of 1785, and Schubert's composition of Winterreise in February and October of 1827. Handel's orchestral music sounds robust when it's played like this, but I've heard more than a few versions of both op. 3 and op. 6 that were crippled by poor musical choices or stylistic axe-grinding, on both sides of the Historically Informed Practices divide. Bernhard Forck and his very fine Berlin musicians, supported by Pentatone's fine engineers, let Handel's inspiration flow unimpeded.

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Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin

The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (Akamus) was founded in 1982 in Berlin. Since its beginnings, it has become one of the world‘s leading chamber orchestras on period instruments and can look back on an unprecedented history of success. From New York to Tokyo, London or Buenos Aires, Akamus is a welcome guest, appearing regularly at the most important venues throughout Europe and internationally, touring as far afield as the USA and Asia.

Akamus has established itself as one of the pillars of Berlin‘s cultural scene, having had its own concert series at the Konzerthaus Berlin for more than 30 years and having collaborated with the Staatsoper Berlin on their Baroque repertoire since 1994. In addition, the ensemble has had its own concert series at Munich’s Prinzregententheater since 2012.

With up to 100 performances annually, Akamus performs in a variety of formations from chamber music to symphonic repertoire. As well as working with guest conductors, the orchestra is often directed from the leader‘s chair by one of its three concert masters Bernhard Forck, Georg Kallweit or Stephan Mai.

The ensemble has an especially close and enduring partnership with René Jacobs. Their mutual passion to explore new paths has led to the rediscovery and new interpretation of many operas and oratorios, to great international critical acclaim. Their recordings of Mozart’s "The Abduction from the Seraglio" and Bach’s "St. Matthew" and "St. John" Passions received numerous awards and their productions at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna have been praised highly by the international press.

In the recent past, Akamus was directed by Emmanuelle Haïm, Bernhard Labadie, Paul Agnew, Diego Fasolis and Rinaldo Alessandrini. Akamus‘ most fruitful cooperation with the RIAS-Kammerchor has produced many award-winning recordings. In addition, the ensemble maintains close cooperation with the Bavarian Radio Chorus. Regular guests include internationally renowned soloists such as Isabelle Faust, Andreas Staier, Alexander Melnikov, Anna Prohaska, Werner Güra, Michael Volle and Bejun Mehta. Together with the Sasha Waltz & Guests dance company, Akamus has developed successful productions such as "Dido & Aeneas" (music by Henry Purcell) and "Medea" (music by Pascal Dusapin).

Having sold more than a million CDs, Akamus is a highly successful orchestra internationally. Their recordings have won all important awards for classical recordings, such as the Grammy, Diapason d‘Or, Cannes Classical, Gramophone, Edison, MIDEM Classical, Choc de l‘année as well as the Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. In 2006, Akamus received the Telemann prize of Magdeburg and in 2014 both the Bach Medal and Echo Klassik.

Akamus‘ most recent CD productions include Bach‘s "Dialogue Cantatas" with Sophie Karthäuser and Michael Volle, Bruckner‘s „Missa solemnis“ with the RIAS Kammerchor under the baton of ?ukasz Borowicz, „Cantata“, a new recording with Bejun Mehta, and Mozart’s “Great Mass in C minor” with the Bavarian Radio Chorus under the baton of Howard Arman.

photo: provided by PENTATONE

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Handel - Concerti grossi, Op. 6 Nos. 1-6 (2019)

Handel

Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin

    Classics Today -

This presentation of the first six of Handel’s Op. 6 concerti grossi is vibrant, uninhibited, almost aggressive in some cases, but always thoroughly centered in the context of the score, celebrating the catchy melodies and reveling in the pulsing rhythms, ultimately delivering a consummately entertaining and justly realized interpretation of these oft-performed and recorded concertos. Yes, these popular pieces have been superbly recorded before, but a new traversal, especially one as technically accomplished and musically impressive as this one, is certainly welcome. The works’ theatricality and clever, skillful compositional characteristics come to life in this orchestra’s vivid realizations. Whether you know or have never before heard these seminal 18th-century concertos, you will be rewarded by hearing one of the world’s finest baroque bands deliver its best, well-considered readings–articulate, fast-moving, and stylish, exemplified in instances such as the lively, buoyant Allegro of the A minor concerto HWV 322. The sound, from the Nikodemuskirche, Berlin, is excellent, adding to the confirmed distinction of this well-managed, competently presented project.

David Vernier[read full review]

    Gramophone

Akamus gives us a thrilling set of Handel's Op 6 Concerto Grossi, supremely inventive music given sparkling performances.

Handel - Concerti grossi, Op. 6 Nos. 1-6 (2019)

Handel

Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin

Financial Support: Freunde und Förderer der Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin e.V.
Producer: Karel Bruggeman
Recording Engineer: Jean-Marie Geijsen
Recording Location: Nikodemuskirche, Berlin, in September 2018 and February 2019
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD

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PTC5186737: Handel - Concerti grossi, Op. 6 Nos. 1-6
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1.
Concerto grosso in G Major, Op. 6 No. 1, HWV 319 - I. A tempo giusto
Handel
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Concerto grosso in G Major, Op. 6 No. 1, HWV 319 - II. Allegro
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Concerto grosso in G Major, Op. 6 No. 1, HWV 319 - III. Adagio
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Concerto grosso in G Major, Op. 6 No. 1, HWV 319 - IV. Allegro
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Concerto grosso in G Major, Op. 6 No. 1, HWV 319 - V. Allegro
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Concerto grosso in F Major, Op. 6 No. 2, HWV 320 - I. Andante larghetto
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Concerto grosso in F Major, Op. 6 No. 2, HWV 320 - II. Allegro
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Concerto grosso in F Major, Op. 6 No. 2, HWV 320 - III. Largo
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Concerto grosso in F Major, Op. 6 No. 2, HWV 320 - IV. Allegro, ma non troppo
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Concerto grosso in E Minor, Op. 6 No. 3, HWV 321 - I. Larghetto
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Concerto grosso in E Minor, Op. 6 No. 3, HWV 321 - II. Andante
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Concerto grosso in E Minor, Op. 6 No. 3, HWV 321 - III. Allegro
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Concerto grosso in E Minor, Op. 6 No. 3, HWV 321 - IV. Polonaise. Andante
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Concerto grosso in E Minor, Op. 6 No. 3, HWV 321 - V. Allegro, ma non troppo
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Concerto grosso in A Minor, Op. 6 No. 4, HWV 322 - I. Larghetto affetuoso
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Concerto grosso in A Minor, Op. 6 No. 4, HWV 322 - II. Allegro
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Concerto grosso in A Minor, Op. 6 No. 4, HWV 322 - III. Largo e piano
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Concerto grosso in A Minor, Op. 6 No. 4, HWV 322 - IV. Allegro
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Concerto grosso in D Major, Op. 6 No. 5, HWV 323 - I. Larghetto e staccato
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Concerto grosso in D Major, Op. 6 No. 5, HWV 323 - II. Allegro
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Concerto grosso in D Major, Op. 6 No. 5, HWV 323 - III. Presto
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Concerto grosso in D Major, Op. 6 No. 5, HWV 323 - IV. Largo
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Concerto grosso in D Major, Op. 6 No. 5, HWV 323 - V. Allegro
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Concerto grosso in D Major, Op. 6 No. 5, HWV 323 - VI. Menuet. Un poco larghetto
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Concerto grosso in G Minor, Op. 6 No. 6, HWV 324 - I. Largo affettuoso
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Concerto grosso in G Minor, Op. 6 No. 6, HWV 324 - II. A tempo giusto
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Concerto grosso in G Minor, Op. 6 No. 6, HWV 324 - III. Musette. Larghetto
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Concerto grosso in G Minor, Op. 6 No. 6, HWV 324 - IV. Allegro
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Concerto grosso in G Minor, Op. 6 No. 6, HWV 324 - V. Allegro
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