The Members and Guests of the Berliner Philharmoniker on Historical Instruments concert series was initiated in 1998; ten years later, the instrumental ensemble Concerto Melante emerged from these musical encounters. Their mellifluous, Italian-sounding name invokes a pseudonym of composer Georg Philipp Telemann, who formed an anagram out of the syllables of his last name. The group’s 2010 CD debut was also dedicated to his music. In the meantime, the Concerto Melante, which plays in varying line-ups of four to a dozen instrumentalists, has – on recordings and at concerts – interpreted not only works by the man who gave them their name, but also works by composers of the 17th and 18th centuries who in some cases have been unjustly forgotten.
At this concert in the Original Sound series, the Concerto Melante will commemorate Tyrolean violinmaker Jacob Stainer’s 400th birthday. Presumably trained in Italy, Stainer, who was born in 1619 in Absam near Innsbruck, made string instruments, the design of which remind one of those from the Amati family’s famous Cremonese workshop. Stainer supplied instruments to the court orchestra in Salzburg, the court in Innsbruck and the Cöthen court orchestra. But musicians in Munich, Nuremberg, Bolzano, Merano, Venice and Switzerland were also highly appreciative of the Tyrolean master’s creations.
Collaborating with Reinhard Goebel, with whom the ensemble has had artistic ties for many years and who will host the evening, conducted by Philharmonic violinist Raimar Orlovsky, Concerto Melante will play on original Stainer instruments. For this concert the ensemble has put together a programme with works by composers of the 17th and 18th centuries – including Bohemian violinist and composer Heinrich Ignatz Franz Biber, Georg Muffat, who came from Savoy, and Italian violinists and composers Francesco Geminiani and Francesco Maria Veracini. Besides Johann Sebastian Bach – how could it be otherwise? – Georg Philipp Telemann is also featured with the Sinfonia spirituosa for strings and basso continuo.
If you can’t get enough of the Concerto Melante’s lively music-making, you will have an opportunity to experience the ensemble in a Philharmonic Salon dedicated to Giacomo Casanova on 24 and 31 May 2020, with interpretations of music by Italian composers of the Baroque era.