LABELS: Teldec: Das Alte Werk
The LP record famously expanded listeners’ knowledge of the repertoire of early music; and it also charted and encouraged the rise of the period performance movement.
Now more and more CD reissues are revisiting those heady days; and while in some cases the excitement of discovery has worn off, in others it remains as potent as ever.
The Teldec series Das Alte Werk was in the forefront of the period revolution, and its latest batch of budget-price reissues – mostly retaining the original LP contents, but with irritatingly variable amounts of the original documentation – reflects the pioneering work of many of its stars.
The Leonhardt Consort and Vienna Concentus Musicus combine on a 1966 disc of double concertos by BACH’S SONS, with Anneke Uittenbosch’s harpsichord and Jean Antonietti’s fortepiano beautifully matched in CPE Bach’s engaging E flat Concerto (0630-12326-2).
Gustav Leonhardt’s group also joins forces with David Willcocks’s King’s College Cambridge Choir, 1969 vintage, in an invigorating programme of PURCELL anthems (2292-43548-2).
Two discs chart the conversion of Jaap Schröder’s Concerto Amsterdam from a modern-instrument ensemble in 1969, accompanying the mellifluous Hermann Baumann in HORN CONCERTOS by Haydn, Danzi and Rosetti (0630-12324-2), to a period band in 1978, partnering the excellent Schröder himself in violin concertos by LECLAIR (4509-92180-2).
Schröder also leads the Esterházy Quartet in 1976 recordings of the six String Quartets Op. 32 by BOCCHERINI, a composer whose gentle muse benefits greatly from the period treatment (8573-85565-2 & 8573-85566-2).
Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s Vienna Concentus Music is represented by recordings from the Eighties. A HAYDN disc has the popular D major Keyboard Concerto with Herbert Tachezi exuberant on fortepiano, and a fluent Sinfonia concertante with, strangely, unidentified soloists (0630-17385-2).
But Harnoncourt’s preference for big-voiced mainstream soloists lets him down in the pairing of Thomas Hampson with Roberta Alexander in HANDEL’s Apollo e Dafne (4509-98645-2).
Recommendable without reservation are three discs from the CD era by Ivor Bolton’s lively St James’s Baroque Players: BAROQUE MUSIC OF BOLOGNA, with strings and trumpets in some of the earliest manifestations of the Italian concerto (4509-91192-2); CHARPENTIER’s Te Deum and Missa Assumpta est Maria, sung and played with bright colours and springy French rhythms (0630-12465-2); and PURCELL’s Dido and Aeneas, featuring Della Jones as a grand but by no means unstylish Queen of Carthage (4509-91191-2).