’On the West side of the Alps, Italian composer Vito Palumbo (born in 1972) isn’t very well known yet, even though his music is played in abundance in many countries in the classical world. Right from the start, let’s say the first three seconds, one could very well imagine his 2006 Concerto barocco to be two hundred fifty years older, but after just two bars, the musical discourse diverts, becoming atonal, breaking up, while always keeping the rigorous form of baroque entertainment in mind. Granted the choice of the harpsichord as a soloist corrupts our vigilance and, much like in Martinů, Poulenc or Falla, one tends to think this is the work of a very old artist who would have gone mad! Regardless Concerto baroccois deliciously fresh and leads the listener to wonder how the next track on the album would sound like, in the present case his 2007 Cello concerto. And there, baroque references are nowhere to be found, we are thrown right in the 21st century – meaning the 70s and 80s avant-garde has been carefully left out in a language where musical beauty and phrases prevail, even if they are on the fringes of tone. The listener, growing further intrigued, starts wondering about what the 2013 Recorder concerto that closes the album might sound like… and how in the world a recorder can compete with a great modern symphonic orchestra! The recorder is indeed modern, from the brand Eagle, and its material, range, sound uniformity from bass to treble, and most importantly its power, make it equal to any of today’s transverse flutes. But with the sound of an unknown recorder. The music itself makes use of all the possibilities, plays with balance and unfolds with great modern beauty. Vito Palumbo, a name worth remembering! © SM/Qobuz
’This turns out to be a very pleasant surprise’ musicweb-international.com
TELEMANN, CORELLI & BACH – BIS records
Dan Laurin, musical direction and recorders
Anna Paradiso, solo and continuo
Release: December 2016
Buy it on http://bis.se/orchestras-ensembles/hoor-barock/telemann-corelli-bach
“This is, I think, a first release from Höör Barock, the orchestra founded in 2012 to perform at the festival in the village that bears its name in the southernmost part of Sweden. As such it is essentially a showcase, both of their own talents and of their fruitful relationship with recorder virtuoso Dan Laurin, and very effective it is, considering their particular strengths. ‘Individual voices are given ample space’, claims their group biography, and for once you can hear precisely what they mean. How much better for their natural expressive exuberance and freedom to be let loose in a mixed, presumably concert-derived programme rather than some sober one-composer set!
… there is an infectiousness to the interpretative energy of the music-making. The rhetorical daring and overspilling ornamentation are irresistible too, and must have made those Swedish summer evenings rock. With soloist Anna Paradiso they make the finale of Bach’s F major Harpsichord Concerto, arranged from the Fourth Brandenburg and already one of its composer’s most coursingly exciting, more scintillating than ever.
… the best thing to do with these fresh-faced Swedes is surely simply to enjoy their playing and say thank you for the music!”
“The new Swedish historical-instrument group Höör Barock (the name comes from that of a village in southern Sweden but also connotes the idea “hear Baroque”) is a project of recorder virtuoso Dan Laurin, already noted as one of the world’s top players on his instrument. Here, joined by second recorder Emilie Roos, he is able to shape his ensemble of ten players into a unit capable of keeping up with and pushing his blistering speeds … the fun starts with the CorelliConcerto for two recorders and orchestra, Op. 6, No. 4: sample the zippy duo passagework in its third and fourth movements. The Bach Concerto for harpsichord, two recorders, strings, and continuo, BWV 1057, is an arrangement of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in F major, BWV 1049, and Höör Barock‘s performance here is likewise a masterpiece of close high-speed ensemble work … in the main this recording announces a distinctive new Baroque group, nicely recorded.” allmusic.com
JH ROMAN – BIS
Dan Laurin, recorder and musical direction
“Raymond Tuttle reviewed the first volume of this complete traversal of the 12 Flute Sonatas by Swedish composer Johan Helmich Roman in Fanfare 39:1 (September/October 2015). He cited the music’s “intrinsic interest” and “attractiveness,” and the excellent playing of Dan Laurin and the continuo ensemble. Now here are the last seven of the sonatas, equally interesting and attractive, fitted onto one SACD of over 80 minutes. Laurin is uncommonly expressive in this music—actually, he is all the time—treating these sonatas as dance music in a suite, which is usually what they are. The result is revelatory, as it was in the last volume.
Sonates & Suites – BIS
Dan Laurin, recorder and musical direction
“Anna Paradiso’s accompaniments are unfailingly sympathetic and stylish … (Dan Laurin’s) masterful solo recorder arrangement of Marais’sCouplets de folies (originally for bass viol) represents a departure from the usual arrangements with continuo and not only shows the recorder to fullest effect but also illustrates his own considerable musicianship …” Grammophone UK
‘Husband (recorder) and wife (harpsichord) fit together so perfectly that you hope they’ll have many more chances to make music together!’ American Record Guide
“… The increasingly theatrical style of French chamber music – under the influence of the Italian style – is reflected by the way Dan Laurin plays this interesting programme. His playing is full of contrasts, in mood, tempo and dynamics. The recorder has a limited dynamic range but Laurin explores it to the full. These are strongly gestural and dramatic interpretations in which Laurin receives excellent support from Domen Marinčič and Anna Paradiso. This is not just another disc with recorder music. Because of the programme and the performances it is a substantial addition to the discography. The more than generousplaying time is another good argument in its favour” (music-web international)
Vivaldi, Recorder Concertos – BIS
Dan Laurin, recorder and musical direction
Anna Paradiso, harpsichord and clavichord vol. 2
Johan Helmich Roman: the keyboard sonatas 8-12, vol. 2
“This is keyboard musicianship so superlative that I stopped the player after 20 minutes and immediately placed an order for the other volume. It’s that attractive and expressive. Anna Paradiso obviously listens very closely to her instruments as she plays them, and this makes her interpretations vivid. She makes the music sound freshly improvised by a creative genius. … The music is so inventive and inspiring I had to print out all 12 sonatas and start learning them. …The music is full of melodic and rhythmic surprises and harmonic tensions. For example, the D-minor Sonata (9) has a passage exploring G-flat and E-flat minor, a six-flat key also used in a movement in Sonata I. … After the 12th Sonata, Paradiso gives us another 14 minutes of music: a Sonata in C by Johan Agrell (1701 – 65). She remarks about both these composers: “It is a repertoire that requires a performance style that can capture the sudden changes of mood and mask as they occur”. That is exactly how she plays. … BIS’s sound is perfect, too. If you care about harpsichord and clavichord and music that you are unlikeLy to know, go buy this now. B LEHMAN” (American Record Guide, USA)
“Anna Paradiso knows how to do it. A masterly use of the clavichord’
Equality. Anna Paradiso knows how to use black and white in an excellent way.
“… Anna Paradiso bedömer med sina internationella utblickar Roman som en tonsättare av internationella mått, och att det är så visar hon här. De stycken Roman skrev efter sin andra utlandsresa, som 1736 gick till bl.a. Neapel, är tydligt inspirerade av den neapolitanska stilen, påpekar hon, och det är en tradition Anna Paradiso är bekant med. Därför lyckas hon locka fram nytt liv ur musiken både när hon spelar cembalo och klavikord, detta ”sängkammarinstrument”, som man nästan får lägga örat till för att höra, men som var vanligt på 1700-talet. Livfullast är ändå hennes cembalospel. Anna Paradiso fyller ut skivan på ”fransk” cembalo med musik av vår andre store barockmästare, den sju år yngre Johan Agrell,kanske en gång elev till Roman, och att Anna Paradiso är en förnämlig musiker, som med temperament och inlevelse får musiken att leva och blomma utan att bli det minsta manierad, visar hon på den här skivan. Det här är riktigt bra!” (Kammarmusik Nytt, ‘Swedish Chamber Music Association Journal’, Sweden)
‘… Master Italian harpsichordist Anna Paradiso had not heard of Roman until she moved to Sweden, and now is recording many of his works for BIS. Her second SACD includes six of his sonatas along with a five-moment sonata by the German/Swedish composer Johann Agrell (1701-1765). If you have an interest in rarely-performed early harpsichord music, this is for you. Excellent audio, with the soloist in front.’ (Classical CD Review, USA)
‘Elegant, beguiling at times, exciting at others … I like her rubato, her inputs … and the choice of 3 instruments. The clavichord is a lovely thing to have, enjoy its expressiveness … This is a pretty good introduction to these sonatas. Oh dear, (at first) I did not want to see through all of this (SIC!) but her lively playing and the way she gets right inside and under the skin of every piece and the combination of different instruments is really attractive. She is such a story-teller and a performer. It is a complete package. If you want to learn something new and be captivated by a new sound, well, then give it a go!’ (BBC Radio 3, Record Review, United Kingdom)
‘This is the second volume of Anna Paradiso’s recording of the complete surviving keyboard works of Johann Helmich Roman … (and one sonata by ) Johan Agrell, who spent his working life in Germany. Paradiso plays on the same three instruments as in Volume 1, again matching the instruments effectively to the style of the particular sonatas: a Guarracino copy by Masao Kimua, a Blanchet copy by Francois Paul Ciocca and a copy by Dan Johansson of a clavichord by the Stockholm- based Philip Jacob Specken. The Swedish-style clavichord is particularly successful in two of the sonatas here. The liner notes are again extensive and highly informative and the recording quality is excellent. It is satisfying music played very idiomatically and makes another very enjoyable recording’ (Early Music Review, UK)
“… Anna Paradiso delivers splendid and imaginative performances. She is not afraid to add a personal touch to these pieces. She is quite generous in the addition of ornamentation and now and then she also adds chords and some improvisational elements. As I was able to follow the scores I noted that she uses these liberties in a sensitive way; it never occurs at the cost of what Roman wrote down. What Ms. Paradiso does here seems to me in line with what was common practice at the time and what was expected from interpreters. These elements certainly contribute to the attraction of these works and their impact on the listener. These are discs to which one can and should return regularly, both because of the quality and individularity of Roman’s sonatas and because of the way Anna Paradiso plays them.” (musicweb-international)
Anna Paradiso, harpsichord and clavichord vol. 1 -BIS
Johan Helmich Roman: the keyboard sonatas, vol. I
“Even though Johan Helmich Roman (1694-1758) is acknowledged as the father of Swedish music, his work is scarcely known and even less appreciated. He is generally thought of as an efficient composer who wrote nice but uninspired scores; as Anna Paradiso states in the liner notes, what she heard even from Swedes about his sonatas was that “some of them were nice but many others were boring.” After looking at his scores for these works and others, including one (the Sonata BeRI 224) in his own hand, and listening to the performances by pianist Oskar Ekberg (the first movement of Sonata BeRI 225, which opens Paradiso’s disc, may be heard on YouTube), I came to a similar conclusion. The music was nice but not exceptional.
Putting on this CD, however, one hears something entirely different. Paradiso applies the same kind of irregular rhythms, stop-start phrasing, rubato and rallentando effects to Roman that one normally hears in Buxtehude. At times, she even plays the two hands slightly out of synch, which makes the left-hand accompaniment change from a steady counterpoint to something wild and wonderful, notes that fall between the beats. She also uses tremendous dynamic contrasts, the sort of thing one hears in the music of C.P.E. Bach. For her, Roman’s sonatas are far from dull; they are “wonderful little” jewels. She takes her cue for the style of these works from the ornaments that “Roman himself suggested for Corelli’s violin sonatas – ornaments often extremely rich and weird to the ears of a modern musician.” With these in mind, she says, “I could have perhaps gone even further!”
There is, indeed, no question that in her hands the music of Roman comes to life. Each movement is exciting and unpredictable. I tend to agree with her regarding the performance style of these works since, as we know, composers of that time did not always write down everything they intended. The matter of phrasing, articulation, and ornaments was left up to the individual interpreter, and the style of the time is on Paradiso’s side.
It is difficult to pick out particular favorites, but for me the Sonata No. 5 in g minor, BeRI 229, was one such highlight. She pounces on the music like a cat taunting its prey, and the cat-and-mouse games she plays with articulation, phrasing, and rhythm are a feast for the ears.
So, should the success of this disc be attributed to Roman or to Paradiso? I would have to say both, but with 60% of its success attributable to her. Without her energy and imagination, these Roman sonatas would sound no different than the way Ekberg plays them, or the way they “look” on paper. This is, quite simply, an astonishing CD that one must hear to believe. The sound quality, unlike some of Bis’s recent harpsichord releases, is forward, clear, and crisp. The album’s title, The 12 Keyboard Sonatas: Nos. 1-7 suggest that a sequel is in the works. I certainly hope so.” (Fanfare, USA)
” … (Roman’s) music is being revived almost single-handedly by harpsichordist Anna Paradiso, if this exceptional SACD from BIS is any evidence of her efforts on his behalf… the content is unpredictable and the style is dramatically arresting, influenced as it was by Neapolitan music, and Roman’s sudden changes in melodic shapes and harmonies are wholly Baroque in their quirkiness. Paradiso uses a fair amount of rubato to bring out these unusual features, and she invests a great deal of personality into these pieces, particularly in her free use of embellishment and improvisation … With the success of this recording, one hopes the remaining sonatas will be released in short order by Paradiso and BIS.”(Allmusic.com)
“… a splendid recording” (Fanfare, USA – a review otherwise referring to Dan Laurin’s CD vol. I of Roman’s flute sonatas)
PARADISO MUSICALE/DAN LAURIN
Johan Helmich Roman: The 12 Flute Sonatas vol. I
Recommended by Klassik Heute! Artistic quality 10/10, Sound Quality 10/10, Overall impression 10/10
“In den beiden bereits erschienenen Aufnahmen dieser Sonaten mit Traversflöte gehen Verena Fischer … mit liebenswerter Frische zu Werke; Maria Bania … und Lars-Ulrik Mortensen zeigen sich hingegen differenzierter … Im Vergleich der drei Einspielungen gebührt am Ende doch Dan Laurin die Krone: Mit herrlich weicher Tongebung und einer staunenswerten Fertigkeit auf seinem Instrument, die allerdings nie in circensische Selbstdarstellung ausartet, balanciert er ebenso virtuos wie der Komponist … Dabei wird Laurin bestens unterstützt von seinen Mitstreitern des Ensembles Paradiso, die mit ebenso lebendigem wie abwechslungsreichem Continuospiel begeistern …
Die besondere Atmosphäre dieser Aufnahme, und was die beiden Mitbewerberinnen und ihre Ensembles letztendlich ins Hintertreffen geraten lässt, zeigt sich exemplarisch am vierten Satz der vierten Sonate … Man sollte die Fortsetzung dieser Gesamteinspielung von Johan Helmich Romans Flötensonaten nicht versäumen!” (klassik heute)
“… Su protagonista aquí es formidable flautista Dan Laurin … Como no podía ser de otra forma, la interpretación de Laurin es espléndida, llena de matices y de delicadezas.” (Arte de la fuga)
“… The SACD sound is so good that you can hear Dan Laurin’s breathing and a faint jingle from the harpsichord … The disc forms part of a series of recordings of Roman’s music by the same musicians and I look forward to hearing their performances of the remaining seven sonatas in the set.” (Early Music Review). 5 stars in all cat.: performance, recorded sound, booklet notes, overall presentation.
“Here one is invited to great musicianship, filled with both deep knowledge and passionate spontaneity. It is like one hears these known sonatas for the first time, upgraded and transfigured” (HiFi & Musik, Sweden), 5 stars +
“One of the most significant composers in Swedish music of the Baroque era was Johan Helmich Roman, and his neglected works are undergoing a modest revival, thanks to the efforts of harpsichordist Anna Paradiso and her ensemble, Paradiso Musicale. Paradiso released a hybrid SACD of Roman‘s solo keyboard sonatas in 2014 on BIS, and for this 2015 audiophile disc, she has joined recorder player Dan Laurin, cellist Mats Olofsson, and guitarist Jonas Nordberg in performances of the flute sonatas Nos. 1-5. Stylistically, Roman was strongly influenced by Handel and Neapolitan music, and the arresting quality of his dramatic gestures and highly embellished and convoluted melodies is characteristic of his work. In these sonatas, any kind of pastoral mood is belied by flashy runs and elaborate ornaments that require virtuosic abilities, which Laurin and the basso continuo have in abundance. Because this is less than half of Roman‘s published set of 12 flute sonatas, one expects that Laurin and Paradiso Musicale will release another volume to complete them, to give a fuller demonstration of this composer’s worth.” allmusic.com
More reviews here!
Anna Paradiso, harpsichord
THE FATHER, THE SON AND THE GODFATHER
Paradiso Musicale (Dan Laurin, recorders; Henrik Frendin viola; Mats Olofsson, cello; Anna Paradiso, harpsichord)
“Paradiso Musicale is an ensemble of compelling soloists, each with virtuosity and insight to burn … With vivid recording, this is a hugely impressive debut disc” (BBC Music Magazine)
SONGS OF YESTERDAY
Dan Laurin, recorder; Anna Paradiso, harpsichord / piano BIS 2011
“Now that these composers are given the chance to speak for themselves, I doubt they’ll be soon forgotten.” American Record Guide; “Dan Laurin distingue bien chaque morceau avec son caractère propre et, bien soutenu par Anna Paradiso, il fait briller sa flûte à bec de mille couleurs.” Pizzicato; “Highly attractive and the playing is superb.” MusicWeb International; “Eine willkommene Aufnahme von hohem Repertoirewert!” Klassik-Heute.de