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The opening Adagio and Allegro from Corelli's Concerto Grosso No. 4 in D Major, performed on original instruments by the Early Music ensemble Voices of Music.
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Q. What is Early Music performance, or historical performance?
A. We play on instruments from the time of the composers, and we use the original music and playing techniques: it’s a special sound.
Q. Why are there no conductors?
A. Conductors weren’t invented until the 19th century; since we seek to recreate a historical performance, the music is led from the keyboard or violin, or the music is played as chamber music~or both :)
Q. What are period instruments or original instruments; how are they different from modern instruments?
A. As instruments became modernized in the 19th century, builders and players tended to focus on the volume of sound and the stability of tuning. Modern steel strings replaced the older materials, and instruments were often machine made. Historical instruments, built individually by hand and with overall lighter construction, have extremely complex overtones—which we find delightful. Modern instruments are of course perfectly suited to more modern music.
Q. Why is the pitch lower, or higher?
A. Early Music performance uses many different pitches, and these pitches create different tone colors on the instruments. See https://goo.gl/pVBNAC
300 years ago, Corelli's concertos, Op. 6, were published in 1714 in Amsterdam: these works dramatically affected the style of the baroque concerto for the next generation of composers. The reception of this magnificent collection, one of the crown jewels of baroque instrumental music, is in no small part due to the music publishing boom which began around 1690, as well as Corelli's signature set of trio sonatas, Opus 5, of which as Michal Talbot notes "at least 42 editions had appeared by 1800". The wide availability of Corelli's works created an international Corellian style. The concertos are written in an expanded trio sonata style, in which the two solo violins and cello form a small ensemble within the larger tutti framework. The fourth concerto is noteworthy for its suave and serene introduction, the gracefulness of the dance movement, the exceptionally well-balanced counterpoint and harmony, and the furious concluding coda which flows out of the second ending of the last movement.
HD Video from the Voices of Music Lamentations of Jeremiah concert, April, 2014. In the year 1702, the Avvisi di Roma noted that for a performance during Holy Week of Scarlatti's Lamentations, the orchestra also played "a superb concerto for basses, violones, violins and violas of Arcangelo" (Griffin, The Late Baroque Serenata). For the 300th anniversary of Corelli's concertos, we will be releasing on video selections from Corelli's Opus 6 as well as Handel's Opus 6.
Voices of Music
David Tayler & Hanneke van Proosdij, directors
Kati Kyme & Elizabeth Blumenstock
solo baroque violins
Shirley Edith Hunt, solo baroque cello
Gabrielle Wunsch & Maxine Nemerovski
ripieno baroque violins
Lisa Grodin, baroque viola
Farley Pearce, violone
Hanneke van Proosdij, baroque organ
David Tayler, archlute