It is not only discerning music lovers around the globe who are giving a warm welcome to the recordings which are being published on Glossa; critical approval in the specialist media has been joining in as well. One example of the latter is the newly-instigated International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) which, for its inaugural 2011 edition, has chosen no less than nine of Glossa’s recent releases in its initial nominations. The ICMA have emerged out of the ashes of the MIDEM Classical Awards which had been presented annually at the trade fair in Cannes in France (and had earlier been known as the Cannes Classical Awards). The particular merit of the ICMA is the pan-European nature of its jury, drawing on the wisdom and wit of media from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Russia, Luxembourg, France, Spain and Finland The ICMA nominations for Glossa provide a suitable opportunity to look forwards as well as backwards with the artists concerned.
Dominique Vellard and the Ensemble Gilles Binchois (nominated for L’Amor de Lonh and Music and Poetry in St. Gallen), who are celebrating their 30th anniversary as an ensemble, have been to Maguelone in the Hérault region of Southern France to join with the instrumentalists of Les Sacqueboutiers and record a programme of the 16th century Spanish composer Francisco de Peñalosa (who was associated with both the Cathedral of Savilla and with the Aragonese Court of King Ferdinand), focusing on his Missa Nunca fue pena mayor.
In recent years harpsichordist Mitzi Meyerson has been coming up with programmes devoted to severely underrated composers and endowing them with musicality and charm. So it was with the Componimenti Musicali per il cembalo by Gottlieb Muffat and so too with the Sets of Lessons for the Harpsichord by Richard Jones and this, Meyerson’s latest, has been chosen by the ICMA. Currently preparing her new album Mitzi is not letting on who the worthy recipient of her stardust will be but, to quote Lindsay Kemp in Gramophone, “... Mitzi Meyerson shows herself an inspired interpreter of neglected composers she believes in.”
Over a period of five years Fabio Bonizzoni and La Risonanza immersed themselves in the music of Georg Friedrich Handel and yielded seven volumes in their series of his Italian cantatas. The final release, Apollo e Dafne (with Roberta Invernizzi, Thomas E. Bauer and Furio Zanassi as solo singers) has been nominated by the ICMA. Baroque Neapolitan origins as well as Roman ones provide the settings for the ensemble’s next release with Serenatas by Alessandro Scarlatti. Meanwhile Fabio Bonizzoni himself, a noted harpsichordist and organist as well, tackles Johann Sebastian Bach’s Die Kunst der Fuge.
Hervé Niquet and Le Concert Spirituel pop up with no less than three ICMA nominations: their take on Purcell’s King Arthur (in the company of French comedians Corinne and Gilles Benizio, aka Shirley et Dino) has impressed, as have their Messe de Monsieur de Mauroy by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (now available in Glossa’s Cabinet series) and the more recent Andromaque by André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry. It is with the Brussels Philharmonic and the Flemish Radio Choir that Hervé Niquet has directed his latest recording: the second in a series of cantatas written by composers who entered the French Prix de Rome competition, here with the music of Camille Saint-Saëns.
By establishing a series of recordings made jointly with the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Glossa is also underlining how many of its artists have links with that esteemed teaching centre of early music. There is an ICMA nomination for one of the first in this new series of recordings, The Passions by William Hayes. This “Ode for Music” from 1750 was conducted by no less a luminary than Anthony Rooley (and take a look at his recent interview here for his views on English music by other composers in the time of Handel), with students and teachers of the SCB forming the solo team, the choir and the orchestra. Among future releases in this Glossa/SCB series there is monophonic and polyphonic French repertory from the Notre-Dame School and Aquitanian nova cantica from Ensemble Peregrina and an exploration of the importance of the fortepiano in 18th century Italy (led by Eduardo Torbianelli, who is joined by Maria Cristina Kiehr, Chiara Banchini and Marc Hantaï).
The language, style and colour of the music of Claudio Monteverdi have all become second nature to Claudio Cavina and La Venexiana and their second opera recording, of Il Nerone, ossia L’incoronazione di Poppea, has been selected by the ICMA. That fuller title for the opera registers the involvement of Francesco Cavalli in the works composition and it is to Monteverdi’s younger contemporary that Cavina & Co are turning for a future release, a dramma per musica from 1656 called Artemisia. However, that instinctive feel for the Monteverdian idiom has also allowed La Venexiana with soprano Roberta Mameli (Nero in Poppea) to conjure up, along with jazz colleagues, a modern take on the Mantuan composer’s music in ’Round M. And very acceptable it has been proving already for many discerning music lovers!
by Mark Wiggins© 2010 MusiContact / Glossa Music