From the Imperial Court
Music for the House of Hapsburg
"An ensemble of breathtaking freshness, vitality and balance"
- The New York Times
Whether they're performing at the BBC Proms or alongside Sting, the members of Stile Antico fuse rich expressivity with technical prowess that "never disappoints" (Guardian). These masterful interpreters of Renaissance choral present a program that captures triumphs and tragedies from the Imperial courts of the Hapsburgs. The remarkable Hapsburg dynasty, which at its peak ruled much of Europe and established the first truly global empire, is the inspiration for a fascinating and sumptuous journey through two centuries of Continental repertoire. Stile Antico focus first on the Emperor Maximilian, and then on the great Spanish rulers Charles V and Philip II, who gathered around them the finest Spanish and Flemish composer of their day. We encounter coronations, celebrations and funerals, and meet the Hapsburgs at play and at prayer, telling their story through repertoire ranging from Gombert's "Magnificat primi toni" to Lobo's exquisite expression of grief, and from the intricacies of Isaac to the exuberance of Morales. Across the generations, in times of peace, victory, and sorrow, the era's finest composers echoed the majesty of royal life with elegant and richly textured works.
The ensemble Gli incogniti, led by Amandine Beyer, makes their harmonia mundi début with this album of chamber music by François Couperin. When he published his twin Apothéoses in memory of two great masters of music in 1724-25, Couperin was asserting his desire to promote a meeting of the French and Italian styles – from a very Gallic point of view, naturally. But, far from blindly imitating his idols, Couperin takes inspiration from these styles and arrives at a blend that takes the best from both.view
John Harbison is one of the most celebrated and wide-ranging American composers of our time. This collection from harmonia mundi, performed by the American chamber ensemble Camerata Pacifica, explores several facets of Harbison’s music. His abiding interest in jazz, folksong and hymns is exemplified by Songs America Loves to Sing. It is paired with the Four Songs of Solitude for solo violin and the world premiere recording of his String Trio, which was commissioned by Camerata Pacifica.view
Les Arts Florissants
This specially-priced boxed set from harmonia mundi celebrates the great French Baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau on the 250th anniversary of his death. Rameau’s music continues to fascinate the musical scene the world over, as is witnessed by numerous recent productions of his operas. But Rameau also owes a good part of his current popularity to the passionate advocacy of William Christie. This deluxe boxed set includes all the Rameau recordings Christie made for harmonia mundi with his ensemble Les Arts Florissants in the 1980s and 1990s. Many are still benchmarks, and together they stand as a fitting monument to both composer and conductor.view