Author: Martin Basart

September 2015 Update

It’s been a busy year again at Musica Omnia, culminating in our 15th Anniversary appearance at the Boston Early Music Festival in June, 2015. We continue to expand our catalogue, and 2015 saw our 65th release into production.

Digital Download Library:
Musica Omnia is working on making all our recordings available through our website in digital format. All titles will be available by the end of 2015. The digital package includes high quality mp3 soundfiles and PDFs of Musica Omnia’s distinctive covers and extensive booklet notes.

The following new releases are given in both physical and digital formats.

Mozart: Clarinet Quintet/”Kegelstatt” Trio, K. 581 & 498 MO 0412:
Owen Watkins/Jaap Schröder/Penelope Crawford/ Skálholt Quartet – Jaap Schröder – Rut Ingólfsdóttir, violins – Svava Bernharðsdóttir, viola – Sigurður Halldórsson, cello
The appearance of this CD completes the set devoted to chamber works of Mozart and Beethoven, MO 0412 & MO 0501. A large measure of Mozart’s increasing fascination with the clarinet from the later 1780s was due to his interaction with one of the cutting-edge virtuosi of the day, Anton Stadler, for whom both of the works on this CD were composed as well as the Clarinet Concerto, K. 662. Both works are played here by Australian virtuoso, Owen Watkins on reproductions of period clarinets, including a basset instrument, with extended lower range, for the Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581.

Bach: ClavierÜbung II & III/Peter Watchorn MO 0508:
In 1735 Bach produced the second part of his Clavier-Übung (roughly: Current Keyboard Practices), consisting of an elaborate French Overture, BWV 831 and a Concerto in the Italian Style, BWV 971 for solo harpsichord, following after four years the publication of his six Partitas, BWV 825-830, which made up the first part. Both works appear on this latest volume of Musica Omnia’s Complete Works for Harpsichord by J. S. Bach along with the Four Duetti from Part III and various other works for harpsichord and the Lautenclavier, a hybrid instrument for which Bach composed several works throughout his career, all included here.

Scarlatti: Sonatas for harpsichord/Nickolai Sheikov: MO 0509
Harpsichordist Nickolai Sheikov makes his recording debut with Musica Omnia in this exciting program of sonatas by the great Italian contemporary of Bach and Handel, Domenico Scarlatti, son of the most famous opera composer of his day, Alessandro, and court musician and composer to the court of his illustrious student, Queen Maria Barbara of Spain, for whom the 555 dazzling, expressive and highly original sonatas were composed. The present program features the full spectrum of Scarlatti’s genius, from expressive and intimate pieces to works displaying the most advanced harpsichord techniques of the day.

Schumann Solo Piano Works/Penelope Crawford MO 0511:
Penelope Crawford continues her solo recording series devoted to early 19th century music with major piano works of Robert Schumann. These include the Kinderszenen, Op. 15; Abegg Variations, Op. 1; Papillons, Op. 2; Arabeske, Op. 18 and Waldszenen, Op. 82. Once again the fortepiano used is the magnificent 1835 Conrad Graf instrument that has already been featured on many Musica Omnia recordings.
Schumann: Complete Sonatas for Violin and Fortepiano
Nicholas diEugenio/Chi-Chen Wu MO 0610:
Robert Schumann’s three sonatas for violin and piano embody the 19th century German Romantic perspective. Entering Schumann’s unique soundworld, violinist Nicholas DiEugenio and pianist Chi-Chen Wu draw further inspiration from the builder Rodney Regier’s unique creation of a fortepiano that embodies the ideal characteristics of instruments by Vienna’s greatest early 19th century builders, Conrad Graf and Ignaz Bösendorfer. The release of this disc, the first to feature performances of all three sonatas on a fortepiano, is an important contribution to the appreciation of these expressive and inventive works.

Giovanni Felice Sances (c.1600-1679) Arie a voce sola, 1636
Bud Roach, tenor & Baroque guitar MO 0611:

Musica Omnia presents the première recording of Giovanni Felice Sances’ complete arias for solo voice from 1636, performed here by Bud Roach as they would have been commonly heard in the 17th century: with the singer accompanying himself on the Baroque guitar. Trained in Rome at the Collegium Germanicum, Sances found success in Venice, where much of his secular
music was written. The height of his fame there was the publication by Vincenti of his fourth book of cantatas, arias, canzonettas, and ariettas. As was usual for such collections, it includes a chart for “alfabeto” notation for the strummed Spanish guitar.
Ralf Yusuf Gawlick: Kollwitz-Konnex, Op. 19 MO 0702:
Musica Omnia has completed another ground-breaking work by Boston composer, Ralf Gawlick. The latest work, the Kollwitz-Konnex, Op. 19 is a major song cycle for soprano and guitar, based on the self-portraits and writings of the great German pacifist and artist, Käthe Kollwitz, whose career encompassed both world wars and the Great Depression. The cycle is performed by the work’s two dedicatees, soprano Anne Harley and legendary guitarist, Eliot Fisk. This release also includes a 20-minute documentary on a separate DVD. Both the audio and video recordings were made in the beautiful surroundings of Boston’s famous Jordan Hall. This production is Musica Omnia’s official entry for the 2015 GRAMMY Awards. The Kollwitz-Konnex was the featured work at the Boston International GuitarFest in June, 2015, and was performed by Anne Harley & Eliot Fisk.
Bach: Six Trio Sonatas, BWV 525 – 530: Preludes & Fugues, BWV 548 & 552
David Yearsley, organ MO 0612:
A magnificent release by organist David Yearsley frames the six Trio Sonatas with two of Bach’s greatest preludes and fugues (E flat Major “St. Anne, BWV 552 and E minor “Wedge”, BWV 548). The recording, made by David Yearsley, one of the world’s leading Bach scholars (Bach and the Meaning of Counterpoint; Bach’s Feet, Cambridge University Press) was made using the magnificent new Baroque organ in the Anabel Taylor Chapel of Cornell University, an instrument modeled on the work of Arp Schnitger, and built by Munetaka Yokota of the Göthenburg Organ Art Centre in Sweden.

Upcoming in 2015/2016:
Bach: Complete Works for Harpsichord/Peter Watchorn:
The four remaining releases in this enormous project will occupy the remainder of 2015 through May 2017. The next volume (MO 0512) is devoted to the Toccatas (BWV 910 – 916); Fantasias, Preludes & Fugues (BWV 903, 904, 894, 944, 899-902) as well as a number of works that are familiar through performances on the organ (Pastorale, BWV 590; Passacaglia, BWV 582; Fantasia in G major, BWV 572; Fugues in C minor, G major and G minor (BWV 577 – 578); Toccatas in C major and D minor (BWV 564 – 565). This volume is a unique demonstration of the pedal harpsichord, an instrument that was familiar to Bach and commonly used by organists for practice. Its effectiveness as a performance medium bridges the gap between harpsichord and organ and uniquely reveals new aspects of the music.
Jaap Schröder turns 90 in December:
Legendary Dutch violinist Jaap Schröder, familiar to Musica Omnia listeners through numerous CD recordings of early 19th century music, celebrates his 90th birthday on December 31, 2015. To mark this occasion we are completing the two remaining volumes in the Schubert in Skalholt series (MO 0504-505), which present Schubert’s chamber music for string ensembles, including the last three quartets and the great C major String Quintet.
Skálholt Quartet – Jaap Schröder – Rut Ingólfsdóttir, violins – Svava Bernharðsdóttir, viola – Sigurður Halldórsson, cello
Please check in for more news of upcoming and current releases as well as general news from Musica Omnia.