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Concerti Curiosi

Baldassare, Croft, Hertel, Paradies, Pepusch, Reichenauer & Berlin

Charivari Agréable/Kah-Ming Ng

Signum SIGCD 248

Certainly Agréable, but the music itself is not particularly curious. The disc is an apt reminder that great composers (Vivaldi here) have always had a constellation of supporters and disciples whose names have often disappeared for centuries and for some of them their music is only now being revived for enjoyment and reappraisal.

This is a collection of concertos for various instruments, played stylishly by a good group of early music free lancers, if not always with highest virtuosity. Most winning for me were the oboe of Geoffrey Coates and Jamie Savan's cornett. None of the composers is markedly individual though.

Mr Ng's commentary (how do you pronounce his name??) is extensive and scholarly, placing each of these composers whose names have become better known than their actual music; a lively scene rather like pop music today.

We have been Charivari Agréable loyalists since their early days. e.g. 17th Century English Music at South Bank.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Pachelbel Vespers
with Sonatas by Krieger and Kerll

Charivari Agréable & The King's Singers/Kah-Ming Ng

Signum SIGCD198

Charivari Agréable is 'one of the most versatile Early Music groups around at the moment, which, under its benign director, Kah-Ming Ng, finds musicians who can fit into any of its many and varied programmes’ (International Record Review).

We enjoyed Charivari Agréable in their early days when, e.g., they consisted of Susanne Heinrich - Viols, Kah-Ming Ng - Keyboards & Lynda Sayce - Lute in The Queen's Goodnight .

In my much younger days, Johann Pachelbel (1653 - 1706) was a one-piece composer, known only by his Canon, forgotten for centuries, rediscovered and first published in 1919, later becoming extremely popular, and today frequently played at weddings.

This Vespers collection of Ingressi and Magnificats (to the same words in different keys) looks daunting on the page, and is not greatly helped by Ng's 7-page liner note, which reads as a scholarly musicological/historical dissertation (despite his acknowledgement to "Dr Glyn Redworth for daubing patches of purple in otherwise pale prose")...

No matter, this is absorbing late-17th C music, powerfully projected by The King's Singers with an Agréable group, which includes a bassoon, "at the composer's express request".

I would agree with the claim that this recording "serves to restore Pachelbel's Vespers to the canon of choral masterpieces". There are also two nice instrumental Sonatas by Krieger and Kerll, about the latter of whom Ng has nothing to tell us.

Don't pass it by.

Peter Grahame Woolf