The five Original Sound concerts take listeners back to the Baroque, an era that from a musical perspective is one of the most exciting periods in music history. There was an artistic spirit of optimism, the sound ideas changed, and new compositional techniques, forms, genres and instruments came into fashion. The stylistic variety of this time is reflected in the programmes of this concert series. The ensembles and soloists of the series are united by one ideal: to present the music of the 18th century using historically informed performance practice. Whether presented on original or modern instruments, the intention is always to reflect as closely as possible the musical ideas of the time, and to present the manifold musical facets of an era in which the foundations of modern musical aesthetics were laid.
Two Early music ensembles from Berlin
The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin is already a regular guest of the series and is one of the ensembles which plays on historical instruments or modern replicas. In its concert in the chamber music hall under the direction of violinist Georg Kallweit, the ensemble explores two representatives of the Bach family who, in the 17th and 18th centuries, were among the influential families of musicians in the Saxony and Thuringia area. Johann Sebastian is today the most famous scion of the family who towers above all other members. They will perform two of his works which are rarely performed on the concert circuit: the concertos for three and for four harpsichords, strings and basso continuo. His cousin, Johann Bernhard, on the other hand, is barely known. The orchestral suites, inspired by the French style, prove that the organist and composer who worked in Eisenach also mastered his craft extraordinarily well.
The Concerto Melante, the “historical special forces” of the Berliner Philharmoniker, also plays on early instruments – with the Philharmoniker sound. Together with the vocal collective Ensemble Polyharmonique, it presents vocal and instrumental music of the 17th century. The highlight of the concert is a musical rediscovery: the Passion oratorio Natura et quatuor elementa dolentia ad Sepulcrum Christi by Antonio Cesti, one of the major opera composers of the Baroque era, whose emotional musical language can also be felt in his sacred works.
Spiritual edification, worldly pleasures
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s D major Mass, performed by the Coro e Orchestra Ghislieri under the baton of Giulio Prandi is also emotional, dramatic and operatic. This work is also a musical gem whose score slumbered in the archives for centuries. A welcome find for Prandi, who set himself the task of rediscovering and performing unknown musical treasures of Italian church music when he founded the ensemble in 2003. Further items on the programme of this concert are Joseph Haydn’s “Kleine Orgelmesse” and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de Confessore. The soprano solos are sung by Marlis Petersen.
What Giulio Prandi and his ensemble are to Italian Baroque music, the Saragossa-born harpsichordist and conductor Eduardo López Banzo and Al Ayre Español are to Spanish Early music. The name of the ensemble, which celebrates its 30th birthday this year, means “in Spanish style” and comes from the title of a guitar fugue by the Aragonese composer Gaspar Sanz. Thanks to the spirit of research Eduardo López Banzo has, this group has also brought long-forgotten musical treasures to light. The ensemble’s performance, entitled ¡Vaya pastores de fiesta!, is very much in the spirit of the upcoming Christmas season.
The Spaniard Jordi Savall, one of the great performers of the Early music scene, on the other hand, brings to the public a completely different musical culture: his concert, entitled “El Hombre y la Naturaleza”, invites you to discover Celtic music traditions. The musical journey leads to Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, Wales, Brittany and Galicia in North Spain. Jordi Savall is supported by, among others, the Galician Celtic folk musician Carlos Núñez, the Spanish guitarist and violinist Pancho Álvarez and the Baroque harp virtuoso Andrew Lawrence-King.