Rather than simply playing jazz on period instruments or Baroque interpretations of popular music, Les Délices’ new recording, “Songs Without Words,” is an inventive and warm performance of what Duke Ellington astutely called “good music.”
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Only four of the nine sonatas for violin and continuo on this recording by the Brook Street Band can be definitively attributed to the master through an extant autograph score. Authorship aside, all of these sonatas are at the very least charming, often clever, and always beautiful.
The sheer joy that cellist Jaap ter Linden and fortepianist David Breitman describe in the liner notes about getting to play this music with each other is on display throughout the album.
Recorder player Olwen Foulkes has assembled a real Baroque grab bag packed with plenty of technical and expressive possibilities. Listeners might not even notice that, apart from two pieces, none of the music on this disc was actually intended for her instrument.
Vivaldi’s highly-structured, often virtuosic, and incredibly expansive catalog of works may sometimes blur together, but recorder player Vincent Lauzer and Canada’s Arion Baroque Orchestra illuminate its formal as well as its expressive variety.