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There's no point in beating about the bush - this is a simply fabulous selection of baroque instrumental music from a brilliantly imaginative and talented young ensemble. Les Passions de l'Ame, under their violinist-director Meret Lüthi, are a Swiss-based early music group founded in 2008. Unless anyone else knows different, this appears to be their first recording - and it is absolutely superb.
Meret Lüthi and her eight colleagues have made a highly imaginative selection from the instrumental music of the distinguished mid-baroque school of Austrian court composers Biber, Schmelzer and JJF (I've named the latter composer by his initials JJF because, while his real surname spelt backwards was x-u-f, Amazon's automatic systems won't allow me to post a review containing his name spelt the right way round, even though his work is recorded on the CD!). The ensemble play on gorgeous-sounding historic instruments including violins and viola by Jacobus Stainer of circa 1660 as well as a variety of continuo instruments; and, what is more, they play them with panache, enjoyment and exceptional virtuosity.
The pieces chosen include such programmatic delights as Schmelzer's "Die Fechtschule" (the fencing school); Biber's "Sonata violino solo representativa" bringing us delightful imitations of nightingale, cuckoo, hen and cat among others; JJF's "Turcaria" and Schmelzer's "Die Türkenschlacht", the latter a clever adaptation of one of Biber's Rosary Sonatas. But for me, the most beautiful works here are in fact the two purely abstract Partias by Biber from "Harmonia Artificiosa-Ariosa"- firstly Partia VI, with its wonderfully catchy Aria and 13 variations, and lastly Partia III, concluding with a Ciacona fit to charm the pants off all lovers of that genre.Read more ›
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