CD BAM 9901
 notes | orchestra | mp3 sample

Unique Baroque Musique

the belair collection

What makes a piece of music popular? It may be an irresistible melody, like a Schubert song that is immediately remembered, or the fascinating rhythm of Ravel’s Bolero. Perhaps it is the magnificent orchestral arrangement in some romantic masterpieces or the perfectly balanced simplicity of a Baroque trumpet concerto. In any case, it is likely to be a combination of rhythm, harmony, melody and emotional content plus an inexplicable element that adds its own unique appeal.

The components that make a piece of Baroque music popular today are no doubt different from those that appealed to the audiences of the 18th century. For example, several of Händel’s great operas were opening-night fiascos, and the music of J. S. Bach (perhaps the major composer of the second millennium) today performed to great acclaim, was spurned in his day as being too complicated and old fashioned. On the other hand, the most published piece of music in the 18th century was the Stabat Mater by Pergolesi – a sacred work that, although incredibly beautiful, only enjoys limited success today.  Generally, however, many Baroque compositions have become very popular in our time, due to a remarkable revival of interest in 18th century music. Perhaps one of the reasons is that this music seems to transmit a serenity and upbeat belief in the future that is both inspiring and comforting at times when our own age seems confused and unsettled.One of the main characteristics of Baroque music is the emphasis placed on virtuosity. Highlighting this was the development of instrumental forms, including the sonata and suite. String instruments, the violin in particular, were greatly favoured as were the wind instruments such as the flute, oboe and trumpet.

In the spirit and range of Baroque music, one must not forget the importance of the opera that, at the time, propelled certain castratos – prima donnas – to great fame. The first castratos came from Spain and were employed at the Sistine Chapel to take soprano parts.  Women were not allowed to take part in singing of religious services, therefore the parts were sung by young boys. However, at puberty their voices broke forcing the chapels to continue to employ new boys.

Carlo Broschi better known as Farinelli  

The castrato would keep his soprano voice all his life and therefore provide an ideal   solution to the problem. The castration of young boys gifted with a good voice would mean hope of social improvement for his family. Therefore, from about 1600 the number of castratos aspiring to learn music increased considerably. One of the most famous castratos was Carlo Broschi, better known as Farinelli. It is believed that Farinelli originally performed the works numbered six, seven, eight, ten and fourteen recorded on this CD. Two of the pieces were composed by his brother Riccardo Broschi who was later accused of copying music from works written by Händel and Hasse. Whatever the truth, it is incredibly beautiful music. Although the Baroque period is dominated by the twin giants of Bach and Händel, the group of composers featured on this recording inspired and contributed much to the spirit and style of the time. All helped to illuminate a part of that remarkable musical world we call the Baroque and is abundantly demonstrated here in the sense of occasion and supreme self-confidence that flow from the Unique Baroque Musique selected for this album.

The Composers & Soloist

Giuseppe Torelli (1660-1709) Italian composer of instrumental music. His work mirrors the development of the concerto grosso, from his chamber music works, many for trumpet(s), to his later orchestral concertos.
Giovanni-Battista Pergolesi
(1710-1736) Italian composer. In the short period of his professional life he produced a remarkable volume of work, including Stabat Mater, which brought him fame only after his death.

Nicola Porpora
(1686-1768) Italian composer and singing teacher, trained in Naples, where he taught until 1721. His pupils included the later famous castrati Farinelli and Caffarelli. His many works include 50 operas.
Riccardo Broschi
(1698-1756) Little is known of Riccardo Broschi except that he was the older brother of the castrato Farinelli. His works on this CD are from the operas Idaspe  & Artaserse (Hasse/Broschi transcription).
Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni
(1671-1750) Italian violinist and prolific composer. His vast musical output includes at least 80 operas, 40 solo cantatas, 79 cantatas for mixed instruments, 59 concertos and 8 sinfonias.
Johann-Adolf Hasse
(1699-1783) German singer and composer of opera seria. His reputation was substantial,  but little of his music is performed today. He wrote 60 operas, concertos, instrumental and keyboard sonatas.
Christoph Willibald Gluck
(1714-1787) German composer. Gluck’s importance rests largely on his work to restore the balance of music and drama in opera. His works includes Ofeo ed Euridice and 40 other operas.
Henry Purcell
(1659-1695) English composer, organist and singer. Perhaps the greatest of all English composers his works incl. The Fairy Queen and other operas, incidental music for 40 plays and many anthems.
Georg Friedrich Händel
(1685-1759) German composer and one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era. His works includes Almira, Rinaldo and 39 other operas. Over 30 oratorios including Messiah and  Samson, English and Latin church music, odes, cantatas, orchestral suites, concertos and keyboard works. 

Olga Kondina, lyric coloratura soprano and one of the leading soloists at the Mariinsky Theater (Kirov Opera) in St. Petersburg. Olga Kondina is a laureate of Glinka Singers Competition in Russia, a prize-winner of the International Viotti Competition in Italy, and a laureate and special prize-holder of the International Vinas Competition in Barcelona, Spain. With the Kirov Opera ensemble she has performed as soloist in most theatres in Europe, Japan and the USA. Olga Kondina is an outstanding singer with a voice of exquisite and beautiful timbre, impeccable intonation, irreproachable vocal technique and a fantastic range of sound including a fine breathtaking pianissimo.


Unique Baroque Musique


Giuseppe Torelli (1658 – 1709)        
Concerto for Trumpet & Strings in D major.   
1.  Allegro  
2.  Andante
3.  Allegro                                                                    
Giovanni-Battista Pergolesi  (1710 – 1736)    
4.  Grave - Duetto No. 1 from Stabat Mater           
Giovanni-Battista Pergolesi  (1710 – 1736)       
5.  Allegro - Aria No. 4 from
Stabat Mater                
Nicola  Porpora  (1686 – 1768)     
6.  Aria from Polifemo (Oboe arrangement)   
Riccardo Broschi  (1698 – 1756)   
7.  Son qual nave… Aria from Artaserse by
Riccardo Broschi  (1698 – 1756)   
8.  Ombra fedele anch’io… Aria from Idaspe  














Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni  (1671 – 1750) 
Adagio from Concerto for Oboe & Orchestra op.9 in D minor 
Johann-Adolf  Hasse  (1699 –1783)  
Generoso risuegliati… Aria from Cleofide     
Christoph Willibald Gluck  (1714 – 1787) 
Che faro senza Euridice… Orfeo and Euridice 

 Henry Purcell
 (1659 –1695)
Trumpet Overture from The Indian Queen  
Giovanni-Battista Pergolesi  (1710 – 1736)
A tempo giusto…  Aria No. 6 from Stabat Mater  
Georg-Friedrich Händel (1685 – 1759)  
Lascia ch’io pianga… Aria from Rinaldo 
Georg-Friedrich Händel  (1685 – 1759)
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba from Solomon       








Total Time 69:40
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     Free mp3 sample No. 10 Generoso Risuegliati

Olga Kondina, Soprano
Mariinsky Theatre, St.Petersburg
Eric Kurmangiliev, Contralto.  Andrey Lokalenkov, Trumpet.  Sergey Lysenko, Oboe.
New Russia Chamber Orchestra, Alexander Rudin, Conductor

DDD Digital Recording.
Moscow Radio Studio Five,  1/2000
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