Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante in B flat major for violin, cello, oboe, and bassoon, Hob. 1/105, is among his most recorded works, and among his most utterly joyful. But it has rarely reached the heights of ebullience achieved in this historical-instrument reading by the small British ensemble Arcangelo and its conductor, Jonathan Cohen. The list of things to be enthusiastic about is long, but it begins with the differentiation of the instruments in the solo passages, with the period oboe and bassoon of Alfredo Bernardini and Peter Whelan, respectively, having the depth of texture to stand up to the brilliant Stradivarius violin and Guarneri cello of Ilya Gringolts (a renowned soloist in his own right) and Nicolas Altstaedt.
This series follows Alwyn on a fabulous cruise on board the Saga Rose, an elegant ship built for Cunard in the 1960s. The series starts in Jordan, and from there Alwyn cruises down the Red Sea to Egypt, then up through the Suez Canal to Israel. Finally, he crosses the Mediterranean, spending a day in Sicily before reaching his final destinations, Cadiz and Seville. Alwyn visits and paints some wonderful locations during the cruise, including the rose red city of Petra, the banks of the Nile from a felucca, the Pyramids, Jerusalem and Seville. Combining travel with painting and Alwyn's infectious enthusiasm, this popular and colourful series gives a real flavour of the exotic places he visits and various painting techniques.
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