Perla Barocca - early italian masterpieces (2014)

Fontana, Frescobaldi, Uccellini, Castello, Marini, Mealli, Leonarda, Gabrieli, Cima, Bertali

Rachel Podger

By the mid-seventeenth century, musical composition had reached a point where invention had converged with technical mastery. Composers embraced a bass line lively with linearity, often entering into dialogue with the upper voices. Exploratory harmonic schemes were encompassed within larger unified tonalities. Through rhetorical structures, such as motive, imitation and sequence, composers instilled logic into their musical arguments. These characteristics, though rooted in vocal practice, were being cultivated for the first time in musical history for instrumentalists. In other words, the Baroque was born.
The featured composers showcase sublime examples of the early Italian Baroque. Some composers dominate the repertory; others have left behind only a handful of works. Here, they come together to convey the diverse musical landscape at such an excitingly rich and creative era. 

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Rachel Podger

Rachel Podger is one of the most creative talents to emerge in the field of period performance. Over the last two decades she has established herself as a leading interpreter of the music of the Baroque and Classical periods. She was educated inGermany and in England at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she studied with David Takeno and Micaela Comberti. After beginnings with The Palladian Ensemble and Florilegium, she was leader ofThe English Concert from 1997 to 2002 and in 2004 began a guest directorship with The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with whom she appeared in a televised bbc Prom in 2007.

As a guest director and soloist she has collaborated with numerous orchestras including Arte dei Suonatori (Poland), Musica Angelica and Santa Fe ProMusica (usa), The Academy of Ancient Music, The European Union BaroqueOrchestra, Holland Baroque Society, the Handel and Haydn Society (usa), Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (usa). Rachel has toured and recorded extensively with fortepianist Gary Cooper. Rachel records exclusively for Channel Classics and has won numerous prestigious awards including the Baroque Instrumental Gramophone Award for La Stravaganza in2003 and the Diapason d’Or de l’année in the Baroque Ensemble category for the LaCetra Vivaldi concertos with Holland Baroque Society in 2012.

Rachel directs her own ensemble, Brecon Baroque, with whom she has recorded Bach’s Violin Concertos, released in October 2010 to outstanding reviews. She is also Artistic Director of her own festival: the Brecon Baroque Festival. Rachel is an honorary member of both the Royal Academy of Music (where she holds the Michaela Comberti Chair for Baroque Violin) and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (where she holds the Jane Hodge Foundation International Chair in Baroque Violin) and teaches at institutions throughout the world.

Marcin Swiatkiewicz

Marcin Swiatkiewicz is one of the foremost Polish harpsichord players of a young generation, appreciated equally in solo and chamber music repertoire and known for his inventive basso continuo realisations. He is a versatile musician whose interest apart from historical keyboard instruments is directed towards improvisation and composition. Marcin specializes in performing on harpsichord, clavichord, historical piano and organ. As soloist and chamber musician Marcin appears in concert halls in Europe, both Americas and Asia collaborating with Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque, Divino Sospiro (Enrico Onofri), Capella Cracoviensis, Arte dei Suonatori, {oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna and the Scroll Ensemble. He participated in major festivals such as Göttingen Handel Festspiele, Festival de Radio France Montpelier, Wratislavia Cantans, bbc Baroque Spring, Kings Place’s Bach Unwrapped series.

Daniele Caminiti

Daniele Caminiti was born in Sicily. He graduated in classical guitar at the ‘Conservatorio’ in Pescara and studied for three years with Oscar Ghiglia at the Music Academy in Basel (Switzerland), where he obtained a Concert Diploma with the honor ‘excellent’. As a soloist he has won many prizes in various national and international competitions. He has dedicated himself to the study of early music played on historical instruments such as the renaissance lute, archlute, theorbo, baroque and romantic guitar. He studied with Peter Croton at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, where he also worked for several years as an accompanist.
His busy schedule includes performing as a soloist as well as a chamber musician in high-profile ensembles and orchestras, often playing with renowned artists, such as Andrea Marcon, Ottavio Dantone, Rubén Dubrovsky, Michael Hofstetter, Christian Curnyn, Attilio Cremonesi, Enrico Onofri, Chiara Banchini, Julia Schröder, Rachel Podger, Marc Hantaï, Maurice Steger, Sergio Azzolini, Antonio Politano, Alfredo Bernardini, Jesper Christensen, Jörg- Andreas Bötticher, Pierre-André Taillard, Cecilia Bartoli, Bernarda Fink, Veronica Cangemi, Maria Cristina Kiehr and Andreas Scholl. 

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Perla Barocca - early italian masterpieces (2014)

Fontana, Frescobaldi, Uccellini, Castello, Marini, Mealli, Leonarda, Gabrieli, Cima, Bertali

Rachel Podger


(..) er wordt met groot inlevingsvermogen, kennis en fantasie gespeeld. (...) Een uitstekend opgenomen cd.


"Antonio Bertali's (1605–1669) Ciaconna for Violin, Keyboard, and Chittarrone, from violinist Rachel Podger's Perla Barocca: Early Italian Masterpieces was captivating. As Podger and the other musicians went to town, her piquant playing was depicted with greater veracity and clarity than I'd ever heard on my system. A major wow experience."

Victor Serinus from Stereophile[read full review]

    Luister -

Weer zo’n pareltje van violiste Rachel Podger (...) Podger heeft de eenvoud tot kunst verheven, in klank, in taal en in gevoel. (...) Deze muziek, van voor de tijd dat muziek een ‘liedje’ werd, brengt intimiteit; Podger lijkt in al haar bescheidenheid alleen voor jou te spelen.


(...) Het playing is sinuous, clear and unfailingly precise (...)


(...) the music is simply awesome in every way (...) Podger wields a very alluring bow and her playing is always creative and passionate (...) The recording is fabulous in every way. The sound is dense and deep. (...) Thanks to Channel for another great release.

    BBC Music Magazine: Chamber Choice -

(...) There’s an unfailing eloquence in all Rachel Podger does. (...) A pearl of great price indeed!

    The WholeNote

This beautiful disc is a pearl indeed. (...) Rachel Podger and her colleagues make use of an extraordinary range of tonal colour and volume, as well as numerous special effects described in writings of the time but rarely heard nowadays in performances of this repertoire. (...) perfect exploitation of expressive device, creative pacing and snappy virtuosity (...) A must-listen.

    Presto Classic

Fresh from winning the Instrumental category in the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2014 for “Guardian Angel” (CCSSA35513) Rachel Podger is back with this beautiful collection of masterpieces of the early Italian Baroque. (Finalist Discs of 2014)

    Opus Haute Définition

(..) passion and creativity in the playing of the artists in presence, placed under the sign of the constant inspiration Rachel Podger gets out of her instrument. (...) A sound recording with perfect instrumental balance, this SACD is one of the jewels of the new year.


British violinist Rachel Podger - whose rhythmic energy, purity of tone and sheer charm as a performer make her one of the most popular of period-instrument violinists - has released another winner.

    Absolute Sound

(...) Engineer Jared Sacks works his usual magic with Podger's latest cc sacd, 'Perla Barocca' (...) Podger has two outstanding collaborators (...) The bright, silvery, largely vibratoless tone of Podger's instrument, a Genoese violin made in 1739, illuminates perfecdy the spirit and emotional acuity of the wideranging program material. (...) These pearls are real gems.

    Herald Scotland- Michael Tumelty

In the very early 17th century, extraordinary things were happening to music. Tectonic plates were on the move and established hierarchies were shifting away from vocal music towards instrumental music: away from the polyphonic complexities of a cappella ensemble or choral music towards the utterly different hierarchy of a top line and a bass line, both instrumental, with, crudely, a filling in the middle. It was a revolution: music was moving into the Baroque era. This beautifully assembled set of Baroque pearls - divinely played by Rachel Podger, the doyenne of Baroque violinists, along with her collaborators Marcin Swiatkiewicz on harpsichord and organ, and Daniele Caminiti on theorbo - catches that moment of change in wonderfully light, expressive, mercurial performances of music by composers such as Frescobaldi and Gabrieli, along with names unknown, including Isabella Leonarda, a nun who lived in a convent, churning out over 200 compositions. It's fascinating, immediately appealing stuff, terrific variety within the pieces and, audibly, all the seed elements of the Baroque Suite to come.

    Audiophile Audition

A regal unearthing of some sensational music. (...) all of these pieces are deserving of a hearing, whether famous or not, and Podger has done us a great service in presenting them in such sterling surround sound, performed to perfection.

    Classical Ear (Mark Walker)

(...) The violin with its voice-like expressive potential proved to be the ideal vehicle for almost forgotten composers. (...) Podger is perfectly at home in this intimate and lyrical music, her playing nuanced and free; Swiatkiewicz and Caminiti provide imaginative support.

    Nederlands Dagblad -

(...) Gorgeous is the way she exposes ornaments. (...) She knows how to fully convince.

    Gramophone, Editors Choice

‘Rich Baroque colour – from the music, interpretation and the instruments themselves – surprises and delights throughout, as does the playing’s joyful vibrancy.’ (...) Podger’s pure tone and expressive bowing are well complemented by Marcin Swiatkiewicz’s bright, pungent copy of an Italian harpsichord from the early 1600s and Daniele Caminiti’s imaginative theorbo-playing.

Perla Barocca - early italian masterpieces (2014)

Fontana, Frescobaldi, Uccellini, Castello, Marini, Mealli, Leonarda, Gabrieli, Cima, Bertali

Rachel Podger

Cables: van der Hul
Digital Converters: Grimm AD
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment: B&W 803 diamond series
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom made
Producer: Jonathan Freemann Attwood
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: Schiedam Holland
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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36014: Perla Barocca - early italian masterpieces
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Sonata Seconda
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Toccata Prima
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Sonata overo Toccata quinta a violino solo
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Sonata Sesta (Op 4, 1690) La Vinciolina
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