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Heinichen Dresden Concerti

#alttext# The year was 1993, and the awards came soon after... this release was a big deal for DG Archiv and Goebel's Musica Antiqua Köln. It was some members of this group - among them cellists Cerrai and Möllenbeck that I saw with Wolfgang Dey during an MAK tour in the late 1990s. But we're too far ahead... it was likely 1994 when I picked this CD set up at the Borders Books and Music in Rochester, NY. It was shiny and new. But who was "Heinichen?" This recording was a major release because it presented to modern ears music that had really been un-earthed and re-discovered. German in style, but in ways that were quite different from Handel, Bach, Telemann, etc., Heinichen's music definitely has a style about it, and as you listen through two long CDs worth of it, he was a colorful composer. Perhaps not a master at orchestration, but his personality has voice and the music, quality. This is one of the largest gatherings of an ensemble under the label "Musica Antiqua Köln," and the ensemble has a lush, high-quality sound. It's fully outfit with horns, lutes, some strong string players, and a variety of winds. Goebel even makes an appearance as a violist. The sound on the recording is well-done too, before the unfortunate turn of events that'd come later when DG Archiv adopted a new recording technology they called 4D by Yamaha. It gave the MAK recordings (more with Veracini and Heinichen) a harsh, metallic sound that they later evidently abandoned. In some ways, Heinichen's music is closest in style to Telemann's, at least in terms of orchestration. Telemann's Musique de table or "Tafelmusik" puts together a variety of colorful combinations of instruments; this music is little different, each concerto takes on a colorful menagerie of sound, from transverse flute, oboe, and strings in one concerto, to violin, two flutes, and two oboes with strings in another. Horns are often paired with flutes, and in the one-movement work labeled Serenata di Moritzburg we get double horns, double flutes, and double oboes. The musical arrangements also vary in the sequence of movements, with some structured in three movements (fast-slow-fast), and some in four (fast, slow, slow, fast). And one includes dance movements, the Concerto Seibel 213 in G. Some of these choices no doubt were dictated by the variety of music performed in Dresden by international composers, and what instruments were readily available to the ensemble. Director Goebel describes the works like this: "realistic and straightforward, unusually energetic and sumptuous, sometimes sweet but never weak, and never losing sight, in self-absorption, of their duty to represent the King-Elector to the world... a mirror to their age... court music par excelence et par élégance..." For such a large ensemble, Goebel has this group playing precisely. The double album earned multiple awards, as the playing is technically brilliant and the music comes across to modern ears as fresh and vibrant. After living with this music for perhaps 15 years, I can say a few things, which in the end, help me once again recommend this recording. 1. The playing is well-done, lots of color, and as Goebel states, energy. 2. The recording is well-done. These are masters at playing historical instruments. 3. The music is interesting as it's got unique flavor. 4. Heinichen isn't the new Bach... his music lacks the gravitas or profundity of Bach. I found his vocal music very uninteresting. Yet, this music, when taken in doses, is mostly happy music that is a fresh departure from those familiar pieces we have in rotation. Still today - after 15 years! As ever, a landmark recording that I still warmly recommend.

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