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Topic of the month April

Barocksolisten München

CD 98.034 - April new release by hänssler CLASSIC

All the members of the Barocksolisten are much in demand on the early music scene whether performing as soloists, orchestral or chamber musicians, regularly playing in ensembles such as the Academy of Ancient Music in London, The English Concert, Concentus Musicus Wien, Concerto Köln, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and many others.

The ensemble consists of the standard set of strings (one per part), oboe, flute, bassoon and harpsichord, based on historical models. This intimate formation brings to life exciting programs of orchestral music and chamber works ideally suited for this variable instrumentation by both known and rarely heard composers. The musicians all play on period instruments, either original historic instruments or authentic copies of 17th and 18th models, with a wide ranging repertoire that includes virtuoso solo concertos from the Baroque, Sturm und Drang and early classical period by Vivaldi, Fasch and the Bach family to Haydn and Mozart. In the few years since its inception, the Barocksolisten München have quickly made a name for themselves and have played at major European festivals such as the trigonal, the Residenzwoche Munich, the European Festival Passau and the Brühl Palace Concerts.

The origin of the works recorded on the debut CD of the Barocksolisten is closely connected with the history of the Venetian orphanages, known as the Ospedali. During the 17th century, Venice was home to four such institutions – veritable hotbeds of musical life - whose performances became a focus for the city’s musical life. The very best musicians - instrumentalists, singers and composers - were engaged there as teachers, offering the orphan girls training from the musical elite of the time. The fame of the performances of the four Ospedali rapidly spread beyond the borders of the floating city, attracting many visitors from all over Europe.

One of these orphanages - the Ospedale della Pietà - has secured a place in music history forever, thanks to Antonio Vivaldi. Soon after his appointment in 1704 as the "maestro del violino", the Orchestra of the Pietà improved tremendously and outperformed its competitors. The growing fame of the girl orchestra went hand in hand with Vivaldi's fast-growing celebrity. Countless famous visitors from throughout Europe testified to his reputation as an outstanding violinist and composer while musicians came to Venice to study with him and composers resident in Venice found his influence inescapable. In 1740, Vivaldi finally left the Ospedale della Pietà, indeed he had to leave: His finances were dire and his alleged relationship with his long-time travelling companion, the singer Anna Giraud, gave rise to gossip and speculation, tarnishing his reputation.

Vivaldi wrote much of his virtuoso solo and chamber concertos for the musicians of the Ospedale della Pietà, tailoring them to their individual talents and abilities. For their audiences, the musicians of the Ospedali were not only charming "oddities" but true masters of their craft, a fact supported not only by the illustrious names of their teachers, but also the quality and the technical demands of composed works for them.