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2006 Early Music CD Awards

2007 Best Handel Recording

Handel. Messiah. (HWV 56, original Dublin version, 1742). Linn CKD 285 (2 CDs, November 2006). Sleeve notes & downloadable studio master. John Butt, Dunedin Consort & Players. Susan Hamilton, soprano; Annie Gill, mezzo-soprano; Clare Wilkinson, contralto; Heather Cairncross, contralto; Nicholas Mulroy, tenor; Matthew Brook, bass; Edward Caswell, bass. The best Handel recording to date. It excels in every respect: research, performance practice, performers and recording. These forces have demonstrated what is possible, but unfortunately, most labels continue to release second-rate recordings of shoddy performances by celebrity conductors who lurch from one fad to another, yet are praised to the hilt in the corrupt commercial classical press. According to Butt, the recitative version of "But who may abide", included in an appendix on the recording, comes from later sources and may be of doubtful authenticity. However, the aria version of "Thou shalt break them" is in the appendix, since the recitative version is in Smith's hand in the conducting score. Handel had his own organ transported to Ireland -- presumably the one in Groupy's Harmonious Boar caricature with two manuals and two ranks of pipes. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP

2006 Best Italian Baroque Opera CD

Vivaldi. Motezuma. (RV 723, Venice 1733). DG-Archiv 477 599-6 (3 CDs, February 2006). Details. Alan Curtis, Il Complesso Barocco. Motezuma: Vito Priante, bass; Mitrena: Marijana Mijanović, contralto; Teutile: Roberta Invernizzi, soprano; Fernando: Maite Beaumont, mezzo-soprano; Ramiro: Romina Basso, mezzo-soprano; Asprano: Inga Kaina, soprano. [Unearthing a Treasure: The Rediscovery of Motezuma by David Vickers] [David Vickers interviews Alan Curtis on Motezuma]. Only Act II has been discovered virtually intact. Much of the score has been reconstructed by Alessandro Ciccolini, with nearly all recitative in acts I and III newly composed and some arias composed based on fragmentary sources. I highly recommend this superb studio recording of a fine performance. Ciccolini's seamless insertions are impossible to detect and about the best I have heard. De Marchi's Orlando finto pazzo remains my favorite Vivaldi opera recording, but this is a close second. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP

2006 Best French Baroque Opera CD

Jean-Baptiste Lully. Amadis (1684). Accord 442 8549 (3 CDs, October 2006). Background on Amadis | Facsimile libretto and score (pdf). Hugo Reyne, La Simphonie du Marais & Le Choeur du Marais. Corisande: Françoise Masset, soprano; Arcabonne / Une Héroïne: Celine Ricci, soprano; Oriane: Guillemette Laurens, mezzo-soprano; Amadis / Un Héros: François-Nicolas Geslot, haute-contre; Florestan: Bertrand Chuberre, bass; Arcalaüs: Florian Westphal, baritone; Urgande: Camille Poul, soprano; Suivante d'Urgande / Une Bergère: Agathe Boudet, soprano; Suivante d'Urgande / Une Bergère / Une Captive: Hélène Richer, soprano; Un Berger / Un Captif: Benoît Porcherot, tenor; Un Berger / Un Captif: Thomas Van Essen, baritone; Alquif / Un Geôlier / L'ombre d'Ardan: Matthieu Heim, bass. Vol. 8 in Accord's series "Lully ou le Musicien du Soleil". Another excellent, live recording of similar overall quality to last year's Isis. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP

2006 Best 17th Century Oratorio CD (2 Awards)

Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707). Wacht! Euch zum Streit, BuxWV Anh.3 (Das Jüngste Gericht) (Oratorio in three acts, c.1685.) Sony Vivarte 82876782652 (2 CDs, May 2006). Roland Wilson, Musica Fiata & La Capella Ducale. Geitz / Die gute Seele: Cornelia Samuelis, soprano; Hoffarth / Die böse Seele: Monika Mauch, soprano; Leichtfertigkeit: Gela Birckenstaedt, soprano; Die Göttliche Stimm: Thomas Sorger, bass; Ralf Popken, countertenor; Markus Brutscher, tenor. This is a superb, one-to-a-part performance of the only surviving oratorio by Buxtehude and my favorite recording of the year. Roland Wilson prepared a new edition from the Uppsala manuscript and scored it based on information about the instruments available at Abendmusik performances in Lübeck. Winds include cornettino, cornetto, mute cornetto, recorder, dulcian, great bass shawn and three trombones. It's quite an operatic work, despite the strophic arias. I had not heard Cornelia Samuelis previously, but her clear, pure voice and tasteful ornamentation in the prima donna role is the vocal highlight. Monika Mauch is also excellent, and performs an aria for the Evil Soul in the manner of a comic servant at the Hamburg Opera. Despite the best efforts of the current owners of Sony Classical to keep this recording out of the hands of customers in the English-speaking world, it is readily available on the Internet. Highly recommended! US | UK | FR | DE | JP

Alessandro Scarlatti. La Giuditta. (Naples 1693). Ambronay AMY 003 (1 CD, January 2006.) Martin Gester, Le Parlement de Musique. Giuditta: Celine Ricci, soprano; Ozias: Adriana Fernández, soprano; Oloferne: Martín Oro, countertenor; Achiore: Vincenzo Di Donato, tenor; Sacerdote: Bruno Rostand, bass. This is a fine recording of the oratorio that Scarlatti considered to be his best. While composed before 1700, Giuditta is stylistically closer to Scarlatti's later works such as Colpa, Pentimento e Grazia and Sedecia, Rè di Gerusalemme than to more typical 17th Century oratorios such as his Maddalena. Scarlatti's "Cambridge" Giuditta, recorded by Velardi and Comparone (modern instruments), is a different oratorio for three voices. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP

2006 Best 18th Century Oratorio CD

Johann Adolph Hasse. Serpentes Ignei in Deserto (Venice 1735?). Ambronay AMY 005 (1 CD, October 2006). Jérôme Correas, Les Paladins. Angelus: Valérie Gabail, soprano; Josue: Isabelle Poulenard, soprano; Eliab / Nathanael: Stéphanie d'Oustrac, mezzo-soprano; Moyses: Annette Markert, contralto; Eleazar: Robert Expert, countertenor. This is an outstanding performance and recording, probably the finest recording to date of a major vocal work by Hasse. While composed for women at the Incurabili, many of the arias are as challenging as the arias Hasse wrote for great castrati. I take issue with a review that criticized the the supposedly overdone ornamentation on this recording, which is much more consistent with historical documentation than what is found on many highly touted recordings with heavily marketed but poorly informed performers. In comparison to Farinelli's contemporaneous ornamented aria from Giacomelli's Merope (1734), the ornamentation on this disk is quite conservative. Farinelli wrote out seven cadenzas for the one aria, well beyond anything heard in modern "HIP" performances. Had this performance followed Farinelli, it certainly would not have fit on one CD, as it already exceeds 78 minutes. Highly recommended! (The recording by Ensemble Inégal of Zelenka's 1730 oratorio on a similar libretto, Il serpente di bronzo, apparently still is not available outside of the Czech Republic.) UK | DE | FR | JP

2006 Best 16th Century Music CD

Charles Tessier (c.1550-?). Carnets de voyages. Alpha 100 (1 CD, August 2006). Details. Vincent Dumestre, guitar, theorbo & direction, Le Poème Harmonique. Claire Lefilliâtre, soprano; Bruno le Levreur, haute-contre; Jan van Elsacker, tenor; Arnaud Marzorati, bass; Catharina Andres, bombard & flute; Johanne Maitre, bombard & flute; Franck Poitrineau, sackbut; Stéphane Tamby, flute & dulcian; William Dongois, cornetto; Mélanie Flahaut, flute & dulcian; Kaori Uemura, treble viol; Sylvia Abramowicz, bass viol; Isabelle Saint-Yves, bass viol; Françoise Enock, double bass; Michèle Claude, percussion. This is a magnificent recording of examples of the varied works by Charles Tessier, who lived for years in England and traveled as far as Arabia. As on his previous recordings for Alpha, Dumestre prepared interesting, historically-inspired performing editions from the surviving editions and manuscripts. The works include solo airs, polyphonic songs, and instrumental music for winds and consort of viols. The CD begins with the snarl of Renaissance winds playing the ritornello to the first published songs in a pseudo-Turkish gobbledigook, an example that was followed by others including Lully & Molière in Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. The recorded sound quality is about as good as it gets, making this an excellent CD for demonstrating and comparing stereo equipment. US | UK | FR | DE | JP


2007 Early Music CD Awards

2005 Early Music CD Awards

2004 Early Music CD Awards

Keywords: Récompenses classiques disques grand prix musique

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