This is another excellent product from young musicians who not so long ago were students at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, which has one of the most highly regarded Early Music departments in Europe. I already knew Isabel Favilla as a
, but had no idea she was also such an expert on the bassoon, an instrument she performs here with nonchalant virtuosity and sublime musicianship. Radio Antiqua was founded in The Hague in 2012 and was a top prize winner at the 2014 International Händel-Festspiele Göttingen Competition, appearing all over Europe and generally doing very well indeed.
This programme represents the re-emergence of cultural splendour in the 18th
century after the devastation of the Thirty Years War (1618-48), and in particular in the German provinces. The programme takes us on a journey from the court of Saxony to London via Dresden, Frankfurt, Berlin, Stuttgart and other places in between, the booklet outlining context and sources for the music found on this CD.
The first two works share the sonorities of violin, bassoon and basso continuo, Antonin Reichenauer’s ‘Concerto’
adding a cello and the added drama of a minor-key starting point. Reichenauer is just one of several relatively obscure figures to be found here: useful for a time as a court musician and a prolific composer of sacred music but remaining a rather marginal character and ending up as an organist in a southern Bohemian parish church.
There are numerous striking musical moments in this recording, one such highlight being the intriguing introductory Adagio
from Pisendel’s Sonata
, a work initially attributed to J.S. Bach, hence the BWV catalogue number. Certain movements share stylistic features known from Bach and so the attribution was understandable, and both composers were known to each other and they met several times.
Charles Dieupart is another little-known composer of whose origins we have scant details. He made a name for himself in Paris but settled in London in 1704, and this Second suite
from 1701 is part of a set of six much admired by J.S. Bach, who presumably found value in their confluence of stylistic influences from both France and Germany, copying one of them out for his own use. The ‘voice flute’ is a variety of recorder sized in between its alto and tenor brothers. Brescianello was a native of Florence, but made his career in Germany after being head-hunted by the Elector of Bavaria who employed him in Munich. He later became Kammer- und Concert-Meister
and more at the court in Stuttgart. The ‘Concerto a tre’
brings the full quintet of musicians together for a highly effective conclusion to a richly rewarding programme.
This CD has been made as part of something called the eee
merging European cooperation project led by the Centre culturel de recontre d’Ambronay and its co-organisers. The feeling of freshness and discovery in both the performances and such an unusual programme is palpable in this very fine recording, and we can only hope it will lead to greater heights for Radio Antiqua.
Johan van Veen