Les Caractères de la Danse

CD Reviews:

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (30 December 2008)

Orfeo Nella Rete (December 2008)

Bayern 4 Klassik (13 October 2008)

Sächsische Zeitung Dresden (29 October 2008)

Radio Stephansdom (29 October 2008)

 

 

 


 

 

 

Harmony of Nations Baroque Orchestra was a guest of the most relishing kind at the Festival “Early Music in the Linz Castle.” The ensemble, which consists of 18 musicians from 14 nationalities, produces baroque sounds with such astounding rhetorical power, that one feels as if to be lifted from the chair with his heart pounding on the ceiling. The Italian Maestro-oboe player Alfredo Bernardini introduced the “band” and the audience to familiar musical landscapes of Henry Purcell, Corelli, Rébel, Albinoni and Telemann. He led this in a way that one felt the bone-chilling-excitement of a very first discovery. The adventure created not only joy but also marvel!

 

 

Early Music uniting 14 Nations into harmony

The extremely young Harmony of Nations Baroque Orchestra was invited to perform the “Prelude” of the Concert Series “Early Music in the Castle” in Linz. Their name serves as a program, since the 18 young musicians come from 14 different European countries. During their performance one could not only experience music as a power to unite nations, but also, gustily compatible sound-colors, created in a refreshing manner. Alfredo Bernardini, Italian artistic leader and oboe soloist of the orchestra, moderated the compositions of Henry Purcell, Arcangelo Corelli and Georg Philipp Telemann with entertaining musicological references. The fact that it is possible to perform with good intonation and precision in such a youthful revitalizing manner, is a rarity and lets the ensemble, which just recorded its first CD, shine in an exceptional light.

 

 

 

The natural flow of the music of the High Baroque period

The Harmony of Nations Baroque Orchestra, consisting of 18 young members from 14 European countries gave an excellent concert on Tuesday at the concert series “Alte Musik im Schloss.” The ensemble is characterized by a very lively and dedicated performance. The internationally renowned Italian oboe player and conductor Alfredo Bernardini ensured the natural flow of the pieces with spare gestures, and also performed at the same time. Represented was a profile of the European High-Baroque period of skillfully and compellingly performed dance-movements by Purcell, Rebel and Telemann. The diversity of the Concertino element, by which the soloists of the ensemble established themselves from their rows, was well repealed by compositions of the Italian masters Arcangelo Corelli and Tomaso Albinoni.

Canisianum: Shining example of a young orchestra

Concert for gourmets

The fabulous orchestra “Harmony of Nations“, consisting of 13 Nations and conducted by Alfredo Bernardini, gave the glorious debut of the new concert series “AbendMusic-Lebensmusik” in Innsbruck. A concert with baroque music for gourmets!

Italian oboe-virtuoso Alfredo Bernardini led the young musicians, who brilliantly play their historic instruments with masterly control and inspiring energy. Suites and Concerti by Purcell, Corelli and Jean-Féry Rebel represented the different 17th-century styles as well as Tomaso Albinoni and Georg Philipp Telemann. Everyone was then learning from each other, taking up ideas without giving up own national characteristics. This could be clearly and livelily observed especially in the formal and rhythmical features of the French dances. The audience in the sold-out Canisianum was thrilled and enjoyed an encore by Bach.

 

 

Harmony of Nations Baroque Orchestra bei der „styriarte"

Mit sportlichem Ehrgeiz

Die jungen Wilden der historischen Aufführungspraxis werden von jüngeren, wilderen Ensembles überflügelt. Das Harmony of Nations Baroque Orchestra, das bei der „styriarte" im Minoritensaal gastierte, bot be­züglich Temperament und Vitalität Rekordverdächti­ges. Und erntete für „Ba-Rock" pur verdienten Jubel.

Fast sportiv muten die Bemühungen diverser Ori­ginalklang-Ensembles an, die Konkurrenz mit noch le­bendigeren, noch tempera­mentvolleren Interpretatio­nen zu toppen. Heftige Ak­zentierungen säumen den Weg des Harmony of Nati­ons Baroque Orchestra, das eine „sprechende", beinah wild plappernde Artikulati­on der Musik bevorzugt. Da werden die Geigen in Vival­dis F-Dur-Konzert RV 574 zu Perkussions-Instrumen­ten, da hupen sich die Hör­ner durchs 1. Brandenbur­gische Konzert Bachs.

Das Konzert, bei dem auch Werke von Telemann, Händel und Andre Campra gespielt wurden, stand un­ter der Leitung von Geiger Riccardo Minasi. Als Diri­gent ist Minasi ein echtes Show-Talent, der sich von Roberto Benignis Outrieren einiges abgeschaut haben dürfte. Gut, dass er auf ei­nen Taktstock verzichtet, man müsste sonst Angst ha­ben, dass ihm das gleiche Malheur passiert wie wei­land Monsieur Lully. Dass diese Vitalität sich bei dem Geiger Minasi negativ auf Tonkontrolle und Genauig­keit auswirkt, fällt nicht ins Gewicht beziehungweise ließe sich frei nach dem Mahler zugeschriebenen Zitat sagen, dass das We­sentliche hier sicher nicht in den Noten stand.

M. Gasser

Click to see the newspaper review as a jpeg image (535KB)

 

English Translation:

Harmony of Nations Baroque Orchestra at the „styriarte" festival

With sportive Ambition

The young wild ensembles of the historical performance practice are being surpassed by younger and wilder ones. Harmony of Nations Baroque Orchestra, which performed at the Styriarte Festival (Minoritensaal), offered temperament and vitality that reached record levels. And they earned well deserved jubilations for their "BA-ROCK".

The endeavours of several historically informed ensembles to outperform the competitive ensembles with even livelier and more spirited interpretations appear almost sportive. The way of Harmony of Nations Baroque Orchestra was a spread of fierce accents: the orchestra preferred a “speaking”, almost wildly babbling articulation. You heard the violins as percussion instruments in Vivaldi’s F Major concerto RV 574; the horns blew each other away in Bach’s first Brandenburg concerto.

The concert, in which works of Telemann, Handel and André Campra were also played, was held together by the director and violinist Riccardo Minasi. As a conductor Minasi is a real show talent, probably inspired by the burlesque of Roberto Benigni. Luckily he abstained from beating time with a staff, otherwise we would worry that he might suffer the same mishap as whilom Monsieur Lully. That this vitality had an effect on Minasi’s sound-control and accuracy doesn’t preponderate; one could even say – interpreting freely a quotation accredited to Mahler – that what's best in music is not to be found in the notes.

 

 


 

GRAZ / STYRIARTE

Musik braucht keine EU-Verfassung

Hopkinson Smith verzauberte mit delikaten Lautenklängen im Planetensaal des Schlosses Eggenberg. Temperamentvolle „Harmony of Nations“ erfüllte – trotz „Silentium“-Mahnung im barocken Stuck - das ehemalige Refektorium im Grazer Minoritenkloster.

VON HEIDEMARIE KLABACHER

Von weit deftigerem Kaliber war das Konzert des „Harmony of Nations Baroque Orchestra“ im Minoritensaal. Gustostücke von Vivaldi, Telemann, Bach, Händel und André Campra waren für das erst 2004 gegründete Ensemble Anlass zu „Tanz und Spiel“ – so dynamisch und temperamentvoll in der Phrasierung kamen etwa das Vivaldis „Concerto per l’orchestra di Dresda“ mit seinen kräftigen Jagdszenen oder Bachs erstes Brandenburgisches Konzert, das „Köthener Jagdkonzert“ daher.

Geradezu programmatisch: Telemanns Ouvertüre „Les Nations anciennes et modernes“: Mit einer gehörigen Portion Ironie hat der barocke "Generalmusikdirektor Europas" in Hamburg den musikalischen Stil von Deutschen, Schweden und Dänen „einst und jetzt“ auf’s Korn genommen. Die norddeutsche Ausrichtung dieser musikalischen EU-Kritik verdankt sich den politischen Scherereien Deutschlands damals. Zum Glück gibt es das heute nicht mehr.

Weiter im harmonischen Reigen der Nationen geht es bei der Styriarte u.a. heute Dienstag (10. 7.) mit „Musik der Wikinger“, mit „Böhmischen Musikanten (11.7.), mit einem Ausflug ins „Labyrinth“ mit Musik aus dem antiken Kreta (16.7.) oder einer Reise mit Jordi Savall auf den Spuren von „Columbus“ (in der Pfarrkirche Pöllau, 20.7.) . „Seid umschlungen Millionen“ heißt es beim Abschlusskonzert (22.7.) mit Beethovens „Neunter“.

 

Click to see the newspaper review as a pdf document (48KB)

 


 

Atemraubender Barockdrive löst Europas Disharmonien

Springteufel Riccardo Minasi mit kostbarer Amati peitscht zwanzig Musici durch Vivaldi, Händel, Bach.

GRAZ. Disharmonien der Zeitgeschichte mögen gravierender gewesen sein, doch auch im Musikge­schmack des Barock gärte es zwischen Ve­nedig, Köthen und Pa­ris. Die divergieren­den Beispiele präsen­tierte ein anregendes Konzert der „styriar­te" im Minoritensaal:

Hyperaktiv treibt der 28-jäh rige Römer Riccardo Minasi wie der vielarmige Vishnu seine jungen Kollegen aus 14 Ländern in Antonio Vivaldis Concerto in F (1716) wild in einen Klangtau­mel, dem er selbst mit seiner Amati-Geige (1627) solistische Glanzlichter aufsetzt.

Satirisch kontrastiert Georg Philipp Telemann in „Les Nati­ons anciennes et mo­dernes" (1721) synko­penreich schwerfälli­ge Pavanen mit flotten Marinemärschen der Dänen oder aggressi­ver Demonstration der Schweden, ehe er im Finale „Les vieilles femmes" über den Verlust des „guten al­ten Geschmacks" grei­nen lässt.

Nicht jedem Hörer mag der Furor gefallen haben, mit dem Minasi auf dem berühmten Vio­lino piccolo „Carlo IX. di Francia" von Amati Vater (1584) J. S. Bachs 1. Brandenburgisches  Konzert (1719) herunter fiedelt. Stürmischer Applaus feierte die Begegnung mit André Campras Opern Tanzsuite „L'Europe galante" (1697).

Hansjörg Spies

Click to see the newspaper review as a jpeg image (1MB)

 


 

KÄRNTNER KRONENZEITUNG 4 July 2007

 

Riccardo Minasi verzückte Trigonale-Publikum in St. Georgen

Der tanzende Maestro im Seegewitter

 

„La natura selvaggia", die ungezähmte Natur, nannte sich der Trigonale-Abend am Montag in der Stiftskirche St. Georgen. Auf dem Programm standen Werke, die allesamt die Gewalt der Elemente und die menschliche Natur zum Inhalt hatten. Seine Natur zur Kunst erhob Spitzengeiger Riccardo Minasi als tanzender Maestro.

 

Er führte das mit hochbegabten jungen MusikerInnen aus vierzehn Ländern besetzte „Harmony of Nations Baroque Orchestra" mit temperamentvoller Grazie und akrobatischen Einlagen durch Kompositionen von Rebel bis Purcell. Zeigte mit clownesker Pantomime, dass auch schon zu Telemanns Zeiten Altmodisches als dumpf und langsam, Modernes als hell und schnell empfunden wurde und wie fantastisch Purcell-Feen tanzen können... Tempo war den ganzen Abend lang angesagt, erst recht, als Minasi in Vivaldis „Seegewitter" zur Amati (Baujahr 1627) griff, damit mal unter die Musiker stürmte, mal zum Publikum blitzte. Tosender Applaus in der fast ausverkauften Kirche für fast zweieinhalb Stunden Musikfeuer.

A. Hein

 

 

Click to see the newspaper review as a jpeg image (560KB)

 


 

GÖTEBORGS-POSTEN 12 Juli 2006

Magnus Haglund über die Opernproduktion ÄKTA KÄRLEK SÖKES oder La Pietra del Paragone von Gioacchino Rossini, Läckö Slott, Schweden, Juli 2006.

 

„...daß alles so gut funktioniert, hängt nicht zuletzt von der Zusammenarbeit mit dem Originalklang-Orchester Harmony of Nations ab Das paneuropäische Ensemble ist eigentlich auf Barockmusik spezialisiert. Hier, unter der Leitung von Simon Phipps, findet man ein vitales und energisches Spiel von Rossinis ansteckender Tonsprache. Und man kommuniziert wirklich miteinander. Seit langer Zeit habe ich kein klassisches Orchester gehört, wo soviel Augenkontakt zwischen den Musikern sich so unmittelbar auf das Zusammenspiel auswirkt.“

 


 

Oxford Times 9 September 2005

 

Music

Iffley Music Society

The society’s tenth anniversary season opened at Iffley Church on Saturday 3 September 2005 with a very special concert, given by the newly-formed Harmony of Nations Baroque Orchestra. All 20 members are recent music graduates, who spent a year touring with the European Union Baroque Orchestra and decided to continue working together. Their name is apt – together they represent 14 different nations, but any lingual and cultural differences are swept aside in the musical unity and sheer exhilaration of their playing.

Under the direction of Alfredo Bernardini, the orchestra demonstrated technical excellence, flawless phrasing and a deliciously warm, rich sound, allied to an instinctive grasp of the different composers’ moods and styles. The programme was an enticing mix of the familiar and the not-so-familiar, from Purcell’s The Fairy Queen Suite to the delightful Les Caractères de la Danse by the lesser-known Jean-Féry Rebel. This last piece, which brought the first half to close, was a glorious pot-pourri of French dances, all infused with infectious energy and joy.  Equally stunning was Albinoni’s Oboe concerto in D Minor, with the versatile Bernardini taking the solo part in an outstanding display of expertise and professionalism. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No.4 in D Major was an inspired choice for the finale, with its elegant bourrées, gavotte and minuets, and closing Réjouissance – a memorable finish. The overwhelming applause demanded an encore, and the orchestra happily obliged with a hornpipe by Telemann.

The 12 months of working together in Europe have paid huge dividends for these young musicians, who have establish an almost tangible rapport. Their enthusiasm underpins everything they do, and there is a positive flow of confidence and technical sophistication from all sections of the orchestra. If these players are the future of baroque music, then devotees of the genre have little cause for concern.

 

Nicola Lisle

 


Early Music Review

 

In my review of the Spitalfields Festival concert by the 2004 European Union Baroque Orchestra (an orchestra re-formed each year from young professionals roughly in their 20s) last December, I concluded by writing that “… many small groups are formed out of players meeting through the EUBO and international conservatories but, were it not for the practical difficulties of keeping such far-flung young players together, this entire cast would do well floating themselves off as a new period instrument orchestra”. I am not claiming any credit for this, but that is exactly what they have done, and Harmony of Nations Baroque Orchestra is the result. The debut tour of this enterprising group of musicians bought them to St George’s Hanover Square (2 Sept) together with guest director, the oboeist Alfredo Bernardini. The 18 strong members represent no fewer than 14 different countries, from Poland to Spain, and Italy to Sweden. Having heard them in this new guise, I am happy to repeat my comments about their December concert, under the EUBO name – ‘… By any professional standards this was an outstanding performance, with excellent cohesion of string tone and timbre, excellent intonation and some delightfully expressive playing……of course, much is down to some inspired direction, but music making of the this standard would be impossible without the quality of the individual players.’. It is fitting that their name comes from a comment by Georg Muffat, that most international of late 17th century composer/performers, and their debut programme reflected their international approach with music from Purcell, Corelli, Rebel, Bach and Albinoni – the delightful Oboe Concerto in d (Op9/2) played with eloquence and musicality of the highest order by Alfredo Bernardini. In Purcell’s Suite from The Fairy Queen, they caught the various moods of each piece, particularly the Dance for the Fairies and the vigorous Monkey’s Dance. Rebel’s Les Caractères de la Danse is not an easy work to bring off, with it’s rapid succession of minatures, but Alfredo Bernardini’s direction negotiated the rapid changes of pulse and mood in these often tiny dance movements. The use of the harpsichord case as a percussion instrument worked particularly well. The concluding Bach Orchestral Suite 4 was the ultimate test for these young players, and they turned in an outstanding performance, refreshingly crisp and neat and at all times, thoroughly professional. For example, it was lovely watching, and hearing, the strings relishing their little off-beat rat-a-tats in the Bourrée. As with the best Bach performances, it was clear that their was no single note that did not have some importance. The logistics of running an international orchestra like this are complex, but they deserve all the support that they can get from promotors and audiences alike. To this end, I am happy to publish their website address – www.harmonyofnations.org.

 

Andrew Benson-Wilson
 


 

Fan mail!

 

"a wonderfully fresh, lively and inspiring concert"

Erik-Gustaf Brilioth & Margaret French, Paris
 


"I sensed the tremendous enjoyment with which everybody played and, as somebody who is not a musician, was enchanted by the constant quiet communication between all of you."

Richard Springall, Cambridge
 


"...you obviously love playing together. Amazing that so many of the EUBO players have stuck together... I really hope you will all manage to stay together."

Selene Mills, Cambridge