A list of all items tagged with music
This is a selection of pieces that J.S. Bach had in his library and which provide a context for his celebrated Orchestral Suite in B minor. Some of these works J.S. Bach copied in his own hand (Dieupart, Johann Bernhard Bach, and Steffani), and one exists in his brother Christoph’s hand (Alcide by Marais, in arrangement for harpsichord). The Bach Players provide a perfect entertainment and throw light on the importance of the French style to J.S. Bach and his German contemporaries.Find out more and buy
This is a book of thinking aloud – about music, about art, about making work, about life. Feldman was a wonderful talker, and much of the qualities of his conversation are captured in this book, both in its text and in its photographs. The book is essentially a documentary, with something of the same spirit as our Anthony Froshaug.Out of print. Find out more
This programme is centred on the chaconne: you will hear how Henry Purcell and J.S. Bach join hands in this much-loved dance form of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Of the few works of Philipp Heinrich Erlebach that survive, we perform a suite that concludes with a chaconne. The two Bach cantatas are contrasting: BWV 150 is said to be Bach’s earliest surviving cantata, BWV 78 was composed in Leipzig at the height of his career.Find out more and buy
The Bach Players explore the form of the French overture in two cantatas by J.S. Bach: the thrilling Advent cantata ‘Nun komm der Heiden Heiland’ (BWV 61), from his Weimar years, and ‘In allen meinen Taten’ (BWV 97) from his later years in Leipzig. They play a dance suite by Philipp Heinrich Erlebach, opening with another French overture. To complete the disc, Heinrich Isaac’s beautiful ‘Innsbruck ich muß dich lassen’, which provides the choral melody for cantata 97, is sung a capella, and is played in two instrumental settings.Find out more and buy
This is a double CD. Each disc presents cantatas set by both Pachelbel and Bach: ‘Christ lag in Todesbanden’ and ‘Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan’. In the first case the older composer’s influence on Bach’s writing is very clear; in the second, we hear the mature Bach. Also on the discs: Pachelbel’s beautiful Canon and two of his sacred concertos; J.S. Bach’s stirring cantata for solo alto voice ‘Widerstehe doch der Sünde’, and an arrangement of the lesser known canons from the Goldberg Variations.Find out more and buy
Simply put, the viola d’amore is a violin whose strings are underlaid by a set of resonating metal strings: when the bow is drawn across the main strings, these subsidiary strings are set in sympathetic motion, producing the characteristic silvery, glistening sound of the instrument. In the ‘age of the viola d’amore’ – from about 1680 to 1800 – this sound was highly prized: its yearning, aching quality provided an exact expression of the ‘naked, inflamed, fluttering heart’ of the ‘age of feeling’. This programme gathers ‘divertissements’ from southern Germany, largely from the collection of the Dresden concert master Georg Pisendel. As Anne Schumann writes, the viola d’amore is not an instrument for a virtuoso: it is for somebody who loves sound.Find out more and buy
What happens when great composers arrange each other’s works? J.S. Bach gave Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater a new text and a new viola part, making a fresh piece that speaks both of Germany and Italy. This performance features singers Rachel Elliott and Sally Bruce-Payne.
Mozart gave string players the pleasure of playing fugues from the Well-tempered Clavier II – fresh arrangements by The Bach Players complete the set of all the four-part fugues from this work.Find out more and buy
David Wild’s ‘photomemento’ tells an Englishman’s story lived to a soundtrack of jazz. At its heart are photographs made during a two-year stay in America in the mid-1960s, on a passage through New York, Chicago, Detroit, St Louis, New Orleans. These pictures, in turn, formed the basis of photomontages. Jazzpaths is a partial document of the jazz scene of that time, mixing remarkable pictures of musicians with biting images of life on the streets.Find out more and buy
In France at the end of the seventeenth century Corelli’s influence was enormous. The more rational, formal French style had been dominated by Lully; French composers had to admit secretly to liking the more emotional Italian style. This rich banquet of private music composed for Louis XIV shows the first experiments in France with the Italian style. The disc concludes with what has been claimed as the first French sonata, an extraordinary work composed by Charpentier for eight instruments.Find out more and buy
Paris in the mid eighteenth century: the harpsichord was one of the leading solo instruments in the court of Versailles and in the salons of the nobility and bourgeoisie; there was a boom in the manufacture of large, sonorous harpsichords. In 1742 the former organist Jacques Duphly settled in Paris and, from then on, devoted himself exclusively to this instrument. He rapidly gained a reputation as one of the finest players and teachers in the city, praised for his delicate touch and graceful playing style.
This CD presents a selection of character pieces and stylized dance movements taken from three of his four books of pièces de clavecin, published over the course of almost 25 years. It includes his most famous pieces such as the grand Chaconne in F major and Médée, the only portrait of a mythological figure in the collection, as well as the lesser known but intriguing six movements with accompaniment by a violin. In this particular genre, the violin plays a supplementary role supporting the harpsichord, which remains the lead instrument. Imitative phrases alternate with passages where the violin simply duplicates the top voice of the harpsichord. This duplication has the effect of adding a special register to the harpsichord, and there are moments when the two instruments blend so well with each other that only one instrument seems to be playing.Find out more and buy
This double CD presents two sets of cantatas by three composers: Telemann, Graupner, and J.S. Bach. The first disc has cantatas composed in 1722–3 as audition pieces for the job of Kantor at the Thomasschule in Leipzig. Both Telemann and Graupner were attractive and likely candidates, as these works prove. Bach – despite his subsequent glory – was the outsider. The second disc gives us cantatas by the same three composers a year later, composed for the same Sunday, 30 January 1724. The gospel reading for that day tells the story of Jesus stilling the storm at sea: the music reaches dramatic heights. These cantatas, with the addition of instrumental works by Telemann and Graupner, paint a substantial picture of music in Germany at that moment.Find out more and buy
Italian or French? Jean Baptiste Lully and Arcangelo Corelli were the champions of these two musical styles – and the main subjects of the many attempts to establish which style was better. Or could the two styles be united? This programme paints a musical picture of the later seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries in Europe, through the music of Corelli, Lully, and their contemporaries. Chief among the reconcilers was the organist and composer Georg Muffat. German but of Scottish ancestry, it was he who introduced both styles to Germany. Also included are Rebel’s homage to Lully and Couperin’s to Corelli. In this vivid recording The Bach Players bring history to life.Find out more and buy
Feldman is among the featured composers at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Tomorrow afternoon (19 November), Chris Villars is speaking about his engagement with Feldman’s music. Coinciding with this, two articles by the composer Christopher Fox have been published: a general introduction to Feldman in The Guardian, and a review article about the book in the Musical Times (autumn 2006) – online only this way. Read more
In summer of this year the Royal Festival Hall, on the South Bank of London’s river, was reopened after a major, two-year refurbishment. The auditorium itself was remade and restored, and the rest of the building was significantly remade/restored too. The spirit and the materials of the original building were respected, at the same time changes needed for the place’s new uses were made. The architects leading the work were Allies & Morrison, among the most convincing and least pretentious of the UK firms practising ‘modern architecture’. Read more
We are opening a new music department of Hyphen Press. Later this year the first of a series of CDs by The Bach Players will be issued on the label of Hyphen Press Music. There may be connections between this group and its approach to performance, and Hyphen Press and its approach to making books. But rather than try to spell this out in the abstract, it should be enough to say that the CDs will be enjoyable, and rather special. As a starter we are selling an already available CD from another area of music: Morton Feldman jazz tributes published by Chris Villars, editor of Morton Feldman says. This too is a special production, and a very enjoyable one.
Nicolette Moonen and Robin Kinross / 2008.10.26
Bach arranging and arranged, the first recording by The Bach Players, and the first issue from Hyphen Press Music, is now finished and awaiting formal release next month. Read more
Early public reactions to our first CD – given the hopeful catalogue number HMP 001 – have been encouraging. Read more
Further good notices have appeared. Read more
‘Einzelgängers’ – it takes one to know one. Hyphen Press Music is joint winner of the best record label of 2009 in the Prelude Classical Music Awards 2009. This is the annual poll conducted by Kees Koudstal, who is both chairman of the jury and its only member.
The typographer Alexander Verberne died on 27 May 2009. After a stroke in 1997, which was followed by further strokes, he had been seriously impaired and was living in a care-home in The Hague. He was born on 18 August 1924 in Den Helder. Read more
A report of the launch of HPM 002 for subscribers and friends is here
Every one a chaconne, the new release from Hyphen Press Music, is Editor’s Choice of new vocal CDs – with five stars (= ‘exceptional’) – in the January 2010 issue of Classic FM magazine. Opening his perceptive remarks, Andrew Stewart writes: ’There’s something about the openness of sound, the sheer quality of music-making and the sense of connection between performers and composers that makes this a very special recording.’ Elsewhere, the magazine suggests: ’It’s heartening in these cash-strapped times to see our Editor’s Choice slot occupied by a brand-new British label. If you choose to buy the recording, you’ll be supporting a great venture and your ears will be in for a treat, too.’
Last Saturday morning, the two Bach Players CDs were included in a roundup of recent Bach recordings on BBC Radio 3’s ‘CD Review’ programme (one can listen back to this on the BBC website for the rest of this week). Presenter Andrew McGregor had good words to say about the discs, and he found time to play three whole tracks to represent their great diversity of material. He also summed up why these discs are different from the average classical music CD: each is shaped by an idea, and the varied component parts work together to represent that idea. So they go a different route from the familiar ones of presenting similar pieces by a single composer, or stringing together pieces to showcase a certain artist. McGregor said: ’It’s a lovely way of providing a different kind of context for Bach’s music, especially with Hugh Wood’s thoughtfully illuminating notes. The Bach Players have gone an unusual route with these recordings, teaming up not with an established label but with a book publisher specializing in design – Hyphen Press. Bach arranging and arranged is the first volume, Every one a chaconne is the second; I hope there’ll be more.’ There will.
This Friday the lively events programme at the St Bride Library offers a conference on Design for music / Music and design. Another strong reason to get to St Bride’s this week: to catch the splendid ‘Designing information before designers’ exhibition before it closes.
As from today, our CDs are being distributed to the trade by Harmonia Mundi UK. We will still, of course, be selling them from this website and at concerts and other events.
An obituary of Bernard Coutaz, founder of Harmonia Mundi, an exemplary publishing company: here
It’s been suggested elsewhere in these web-pages that we can judge the quality of a book by looking at its production as an object for carrying meaning. The space between the lines will tell us something about the quality of thought in the editorial-design processes, and so – because editor and writer might work hand-in-hand – in the writing too; and the glue on the spine will tell us something about the thinking in the publishing house.1 The recent book of conversations between Lee Konitz and Andy Hamilton may test this thesis to near-destruction. Read more
We are selling copies of a CD of music for viola d’amore, issued this month on the German label Genuin. Two of the musicians on the recording, Anne Schumann and Alison McGillivray, play regularly with The Bach Players and so belong to our extended family. We are glad to extend the scope of our CD-shop in this way.
Nun komm!, our recently released music CD, has been given an ‘outstanding’ award by International Record Review in its November issue. IRR is by some distance the most serious recorded music publication in the UK, so this is a significant compliment. On this occasion we share the honour with some notable labels, including Harmonia Mundi and Decca. Marc Rochester’s review could hardly be more understanding and appreciative: he really gets what this group is doing. It can be read on our page for the CD. Read more
When we were planning to publish music CDs, I tried to keep in mind that (since all the decisions were in our hands) it was a chance to think freshly and not – or not necessarily – use the reigning model of a plastic jewel case with printed ‘inlay’ sheet and booklet. I thought it would be good to try to do without plastic. It might cost a bit more money, but at least we could make a nice thing: more friendly than the jewel-case model, and perhaps more economic-elegant in its materials. This seemed important in the light of the burning question of ‘why make CDs anyway, why not just issue sound files for downloading?’ If you offer a pleasant and desirable thing, with material qualities that can never be downloaded, then it can be worth the effort and the cost of still publishing physical objects. The same set of thoughts applies, of course, to printed books and e-books. Read more
Copies of our fifth CD arrived in the office last week. This is a double CD, offering an extensive selection of pieces by the two composers, Johann Pachelbel and J.S. Bach. As always, The Bach Players put familiar works into less familiar contexts: two of Bach’s most splendid cantatas are placed alongside Pachelbel’s setting of the same texts. Pachelbel’s imperishable Canon is there, but so too is a fresh arrangement of the lesser known canons from Bach’s Goldberg Variations. We believe that these two CDs will have a greater resonance and effect than a single CD could. Read more
From next month our CDs will be distributed by Codaex. Through the various Codaex partners we will for the first time be able to reach shops in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, as well as the UK.
Last week we sent off 1550 Bach Players CDs, all assembled in the office, to the warehouse of our new distributor Codaex, in Belgium. We recycled boxes used for books. Read more
We have been assembling the discs, booklets, and packs for our next Hyphen Press Music CD, ‘Musical offering’, to be released on 26 May (in the UK, and a week later in continental Europe). This will be an unusual CD in the series: devoted to one work, with just one other piece (a trio sonata by Buxtehude) added in The Bach Players’ spirit of providing context and variety. J.S. Bach’s Musikalisches Opfer is one of his major pieces, recorded many times. In this recording, the parts of the work – sometimes assumed to have been assembled arbitrarily to suit the music’s first printer – are played here in an order that supports their rhetorical unfolding. Silas Wollston, the groups’ keyboardist, explains this in his essay ‘Bach the orator’, given in the CD booklet. The cover image on the packet comes from Adolph Menzel’s historical painting (1850–2) of the scene of the Musikalisches Opfer (1747). For the first time we have used four-colour printing for the booklet, to do justice to Menzel’s painting. For the packet, as with the rest of the series, we have stuck with two colours. Read more
The printed materials for the next Hyphen Press Music CD have arrived in the office – we assemble and shrink-wrap these CDs here. This is Sleepers awake!, in which The Bach Players perform two settings by Dieterich Buxtehude of the ‘Wachet auf’ text (‘wake up, the voice calls us’), and one by J.S. Bach – as well as some fascinating, connected extra works. The Bach cantata is one of his most glorious and irresistible: recorded many times, but never so freshly. The official release date is 1 December, just in time for the Advent season and Christmas. Read more