When it came time for Johann Sebastian Bach to publish his Opus 1, what work do you think he picked? One of the sacred cantatas? One of the Brandenburg Concertos? One of the cello suites? No, none of the above. In 1726, Bach chose his B flat major Partita to start his publishing career – and once a year for the next five years, he published five more partitas, then collected them under the title Clavier-Übung in 1731. When it came time for Hungarian pianist András Schiff to make his major-label debut, what work do you think he picked? Yes, that's right. In 1985, Schiff released his recording of the complete partitas – and followed it with many more Bach recordings over the next few years until he'd released nearly the complete canonical works by 1996. And yes, Schiff's partitas are wonderful.
Johann Melchior Molter was a German baroque composer and violinist. (…) Molter's surviving works include an oratorio; several cantatas; over 140 symphonies, overtures, and other works for orchestra; many concertos, including some of the first clarinet concertos ever written; and many pieces of chamber music.
American Baroque flutist Mary Oleskiewicz has established herself as a specialist in the music of Johann Joachim Quantz, not only performing it but discovering a cross-section of pieces that were hidden in various libraries. Quantz's name is ubiquitous in discussions of German musical life in the middle of the 18th century, but his actual music, almost all of it for flute, was virtually unknown until Oleskiewicz came along. The four concertos heard here are pleasant examples of the galant style, with mostly major-key slow movements that highlight the gentle sound of Oleskiewicz's wooden Baroque flutes.
In a church in a quiet northern Italian town survives a hidden jewel: an organ dating from 1749 which is perfect for Bach’s music. In this recording, renowned Italian organist Luca Guglielmi presents a fine sequence of some of Bach’s finest keyboard works, played on the historic organ in the Chiesa di San Nicolao, Alice Castello. The programme is compiled from works by Bach collected by two eighteenth century scholars, Padre Martini and Friedrich Wilhelm Rust, which would surely have been performed in the famous Abbey of Montecassino, a magnet for musical travellers on ‘The Grand Tour’. Martini and Rust played a major role in the creation of the first collected edition of Bach’s works. Guglielmi’s neatly-structured programme includes the brilliant Fantasia Chromatica, the solemn Fuga sopra il Magnificat, the fine Fantasia pro Organo in C minor and the great Fantasia & Fuga pro Organo, as well as Preludes and Fantasias, Duetti from the Clavierübung and seven Chorales for the Catechism, all demonstrating the vivid colours of this remarkable instrument.
Little is known about the life of German violinist and composer Johann Jakob Walther. It is said that he was a violinist in the orchestra of Cosimo III from 1670 to 1674, and afterwards was concertmaster at the court of Dresden. Forty of Walther's compositions are extant, and are contained in two volumes: Scherzi da Violino solo con il basso continuo, published in 1676, and Hortulus chelicus, published in 1688. This release features his Hortulus Chelicus, which scholars believe was composed between 1650 and 1688. In this collection, Walther wrote at a new, higher technical playing level for the violin. The musicians featured on this recording perform on period instruments- Baroque violin, harpsichord, and Baroque cello.