Since its creation in 1933, the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (SCB) and its working philosophy have lost nothing of their topicality. Founded by Paul Sacher and close colleagues in Basel, Switzerland, this University of Early Music (since 2008 part of the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland) remains to this day unique in numerous respects. From the very beginning, musicians gathered here who decisively influenced the course of historical performance practice. The scope of activities at the SCB ranges from the early Middle Ages to the 19th century.
And as a result of the close co-operation between performers and scholars, a dynamic interaction exists between research, professional training, concerts, and publications. In all of this, the SCB operates with a broad definition of music. This arises from a particular approach which explores the historical context of past musical production to create musical interpretations that inspire the listener today – often combined with a fascination for the previously unknown. The CD productions play their part in bringing important projects and performers at the SCB to a wider audience. Around 75 such recordings have been produced on different labels since 1980. From 2010 the CD productions of the SCB have appeared on Glossa.
So taken was Anthony Rooley with his discovery of William Hayes’s extended Ode, The Passions (a Schola Cantorum Basiliensis production from Glossa in 2010) that this legendary explorer of any worthwhile music which lies languishing in oblivion set about assessing and assimilating the music of the Six Cantatas Set to Musick (from 1748) and the Ode, Orpheus and Euridice (1735) by the same English composer. Our complete musician (scholar, conductor, teacher, writer, lutenist...) then proceeded to enthuse and train his students at the Schola Cantorum in Basel. This new album of these examples of small-scale secular vocal music from the late English Baroque is the result; yet more fascinating finds that have been unearthed by the knowledgeable but discerning musician-scholar that is Anthony Rooley, and testament also to the SCB’s capacity to embrace all necessary aspects of a musical project such as this, from research and study to performance and beyond. This is a cause to celebrate and to enjoy: not only do we have Anthony Rooley leading a team of singers and instrumentalists from the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, but it is in secular vocal music of the Georgian Baroque today; music composed on secular texts in the English language – and not by that sometimes overpowering figure of the time, Georg Friedrich Handel! For another extended interview here Anthony Rooley reflects on the life and times of William Hayes, the composer’s music and recording this in the 21st century. [read more...]
There could be no neater way of expressing how the educational aims of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis can be realized today than the recent recording on Glossa of The Passions by William Hayes, with a member of the faculty in Anthony Rooley conducting choral and orchestral forces drawn from the Schola and with soloists who have been students there (or who also teach there like Evelyn Tubb). [read more...]