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Wassenaer: Six Concerti Armonici

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Catalogue No: SOMMCD 0141
Release Date: 07/01/2014
Number of Discs: 1
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Count Unico Wilhelm Van Wassenaer (1692-1766)
Six Concerti Armonici (formerly attributed to Pergolesi)

Innovation Chamber Ensemble (Players From The Cbso)
Richard Jenkinson, Artistic Director

The set of Six Concerti Armonici for strings and basso continuo published without ascription in The Hague in 1740 is such good music that it has seldom been out of circulation since, though its authorship has been a mystery until comparatively recently.

The Concerti were first printed by the Italian violinist Carlo Ricciotti (1681-1756). Ricciotti had worked in The Hague since 1702 and was also involved in a musical society in the city. The composer of the Concerti was in fact one of Ricciotti’s associates in that society but his true identity would remain unknown for over 200 years. Thus Ricciotti became the first candidate for authorship: over the years, others included Handel, Birkenstock et al but the most popular of these supposed authors was Pergolesi.

It wasn’t until 1979-80 when the Dutch musicologist Alfred Dunning carried out research in the library of Twickel Castle, the seat of the Dutch aristocratic van Wassenaer family, that he found an actual MS of the Concerti Armonici with a preface by the composer, the distinguished Dutch Diplomat Count Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer, known and admired as much for his musical as his political talents. Wassenaer himself was not entirely satisfied with the Concerti but generations of later listeners have not accepted his verdict. Their range of expression and technique is remarkable and the variations in style between movements mark him out as a gifted and original musician who was adept at variations in texture and knew how to handle a group of string instruments. Above all, it is the beauty of these works and Wassenaer’s uniquely individual voice, both noble and poetic, which continue to earn them a high place among the instrumental music of the early 18th century.

Innovation Chamber Ensemble
The Innovation Chamber Ensemble was formed in 2001 by the principal string players of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The ensemble’s first concerts were at their home at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham and at London’s Wigmore Hall.  The group has played at many of the UK’s leading festivals and most prestigious venues. The ensemble has made several recordings and their first disc, ICE on Fire, was featured as Classic FM disc of the week and broadcast on BBC Radios 3 and 4.

Recently the Ensemble has recorded two other discs for SOMM, including Elgar’s Powick Asylum Music and most recently a disc of Concertos for Piano and Strings with pianist Mark Bebbington.  In its larger formation with winds and brass, ICE has performed Mahler 4 and Das Lied von der Erde, Bruckner 7 and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition at the Buxton, Deal, Fishguard, Newbury, Petworth and Sounds New (Canterbury Cathedral) Festivals.

Richard Jenkinson
Richard Jenkinson studied the cello from the age of five with Florence Hooton, Raphael Wallfisch and Wiliam Pleeth. As a cellist he has won many awards and prizes including the Gold Medal (Guildhall School of Music & Drama) and  the Vittorio Gui Chamber Music Competition, Florence, Italy. He has performed concertos in the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Symphony Hall, Birmingham and recitals at the South Bank, Wigmore Hall, London and in chamber groups at most festivals and venues around the UK. Richard was principal cello with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and is currently cellist with the Dante String Quartet.

Richard studied conducting with Michael Salter and Alan Hazeldine (Guildhall School of Music & Drama). More recently he has had the support and guidance of Ilan Volkov, Andris Nelsons and Professor Simon Halsey at the University of Birmingham. He is currently Music Director and conductor of the Innovation Chamber Ensemble, Orchestra of St John and the British Police Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted at many major festivals and recently he has also performed at Hereford Cathedral and in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. Richard is currently studying for a Ph.D in music at the University of Birmingham where he is a Bramall Scholar.

On This Recording

  1. Concerto Armonico No. 1: I. Grave
  2. Concerto Armonico No. 1: II. Allegro
  3. Concerto Armonico No. 1: III. Un poco andante
  4. Concerto Armonico No. 1: IV. Allegro
  5. Concerto Armonico No. 2: I. Largo andante
  6. Concerto Armonico No. 2: II. Da capella presto
  7. Concerto Armonico No. 2: III. Largo affettuoso
  8. Concerto Armonico No. 2: IV. Allegro moderato
  9. Concerto Armonico No. 3: I. Grave sostenuto
  10. Concerto Armonico No. 3: II. Da capella: Presto
  11. Concerto Armonico No. 3: III. Largo andante
  12. Concerto Armonico No. 3: IV. Vivace
  13. Concerto Armonico No. 4: I. Largo
  14. Concerto Armonico No. 4: II. Da capella, non presto
  15. Concerto Armonico No. 4: III. Largo affetuoso
  16. Concerto Armonico No. 4: IV. Allegro
  17. Concerto Armonico No. 5: I. Adagio
  18. Concerto Armonico No. 5: II. Da capella
  19. Concerto Armonico No. 5: III. A tempo comodo
  20. Concerto Armonico No. 5: IV. A tempo giusto
  21. Concerto Armonico No. 6: I. Affettuoso
  22. Concerto Armonico No. 6: II. Presto
  23. Concerto Armonico No. 6: III. Largo
  24. Concerto Armonico No. 6: IV. Vivace