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Harmonia Early Music

Vivaldi’s Angels with Ensemble Caprice

Ensemble Caprice offers music of Vivaldi, the New London Consort explores Tylman Susato’s “Dansereye,” and Bonporti inventions performed by Chiara Banchini.

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Vivaldi Reconceived

Next to the “Four Seasons,” Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria in D major is probably his most popular and most often performed choral work heard by modern audiences. Scholars have long thought that Vivaldi composed the work for the girls of the Venetian orphanage Ospedale della Pietà, where he worked for many years. However, no score in Vivaldi’s hand exists for all high voices.

That didn’t stop director and recorder player Matthias Maute, who arranged and recorded the work as theorized for his group Ensemble Caprice. It forms the centerpiece of their Analekta label recording “Vivaldi’s Angels.”

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Apart from the Gloria in D major, and in addition to a recording that mostly includes vocal music, Ensemble Caprice also performs a special instrumental work by Vivaldi—a concerto for two recorders, strings, and continuo in D minor, RV 535.

Maute arranged the concerto for two recorders, originally for a pair of oboes. The arrangement follows the baroque tradition of making use of, or re-using, existing music, yet under a different guise. It not only suits the recorder well but it was an instrument that Vivaldi wrote solo concertos for.

Renaissance Dances

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Published in 1551, the anthology of dances known as the Dansereye came from the first successful publishing house established in the Low Countries—traditionally recognized as Begium , the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and parts of northern France and western Germany.

The publishing house belonged to Dutch music publisher, composer, and instrumentalist Tielman Susato, who collected many dances by Flemish and Imperial composers of the period. The dances were some of the more typical of the day and included basse dances, galliards, pavanes, allemandes, rondes, and others.

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Featured Release

Our featured release is a classic Harmonia Mundi recording of the complete invenzioni, or inventions, for violin and basso continuo by Francesco Bonporti. Distinguished baroque violinist Chiara Banchini is accompanied by cellist Gaetano Nasillo and harpsichordist Jesper Christensen.

Bonporti was a Venetian contemporary of Antonio Vivaldi’s. But, unlike his famous counterpart, Bonporti was a gentleman amateur. Meaning, he did not make a living as a professional musician. His compositions were nevertheless highly original, quite poetic, and had a following throughout Europe.

Bonporti’s invenzioni are best remembered as the inspirations for the keyboard inventions of Johann Sebastian Bach.

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Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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