Masterpieces of the Baroque concerto as you’ve never heard them before: the sixth Brilliant Classics album from a much-acclaimed, ground-breaking young recorder quintet.
As the forerunner of the piano and violin concertos, the concerto grosso is all about give and take. Not only one against many but also one, two or three musicians conversing with each other and with a larger ensemble in a genre that celebrates intimacy, diversity and virtuosity. The form inspired collections of instrumental masterpieces by the greatest names of the Baroque era, and it’s an ideal environment for the relaxed mastery of Seldom Sene.
Ever since the ensemble’s debut release in 2014 (Taracea, 94871), it has continued to fulfil imaginative recording projects with the same ‘commitment, technical versatility, unanimity of ensemble and near-immaculate tuning on display’ (Gramophone) in that first album. In their booklet notes, Stephanie Brandt of Seldom Sene and Matthias Havinga explain that the challenge of arranging this repertoire was to create a wide variety of sound colours through the intelligent use of different types of recorders and the stops of harpsichord and organ.
The Sixth Brandenburg Concerto of Bach is an obvious candidate for Seldom Sene’s performance, having originally been written for a similarly homogeneous ensemble of lower strings. In Handel’s lovely Organ Concerto Op.4 No.1 Havinga retains the solo part while the recorder quintet plays the role of orchestra and basso continuo. The roles are reversed in Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso Op.3 No.10, where the harpsichord accompanies the recorders’ flights of fancy. There is also an originally scored rarity: the Sonata for five winds and organ by the Italian-born Viennese court composer Antonio Bertali.
Praise for previous Seldom Sene releases:
‘A wholly enjoyable recording, full of performances that are by turns soothing and energetic.’
Fanfare (‘Delight in Musicke’, 95654)
‘Stunning breath support and control… an excellent release from an ensemble I hope we’ll hear a lot more from in the future.’ Fanfare (‘El aire se serena’, 95304)
‘A wonderfully homogeneous sound, intelligent arrangement, and impeccable performance.’
Fanfare (Goldberg Variations, 95591)
This new album by Seldom Sene, the remarkable Recorder Quintet from The Netherlands, presents arrangements of well known Baroque Concertos for recorder Ensemble and continuo.
Baroque concertos are very attractive to adapt because of their virtuosity and expressiveness. Hence they form the heart of this new recording, Concerto Barocco. The repertoire is brought to life with the added colours of harpsichord and organ. The challenge was to create a wide variety of sounds through the intelligent use of different types of recorders and the stops of harpsichord and organ.
Presented are works by Handel (Concerto grosso, organ concerto), Bach (Violin Concerto, Brandenburg Concerto No. 6), Vivaldi (Concerto grosso), Scheidt and Vitali.
Seldom Sene is a recorder quintet on a mission to redefine the art of consort, namely in performing and arranging works seldom heard, in a manner seldom seen. Their innovative programming and CD recordings have earned them the highest international praise: “A model of creative and thoughtful programming…the playing is of the highest order, immaculate intonation and perfect ensemble” (Musicweb), “With passionate command, skillful precision, nuanced dynamics, the ensemble succeeds in creating a surprising spectrum of enchanting, unheard-of sounds” (MDR.de).