recordings

The artist has not contributed to the writing of the following reviews with financial support on her side of that of BIS

 

TELEMANN, CORELLI & BACH – BIS records

Dan Laurin, musical direction and recorders
Anna Paradiso, solo and continuo
Höör Barock

 

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!”

(Gramophone UK)

 
The young period band Höör Barock, based in the south of Sweden, has chosen a colourful programme for its début disc. With recorder virtuoso Dan Laurin at the helm, the twelve musicians steer a course through Telemann’s celebrated Wassermusik (also known as Hamburger Ebb’ und Fluth) with its sea gods and goddesses dancing bourrées and gavottes before a rowdy crowd of seamen closes the suite with an energetic Canarie. The centre piece of the programme is Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in F major, the composer’s arrangement of his own Brandenburg Concerto No. 4. Soloist here is Anna Paradiso, who also plays continuo in the other works of the disc. Bach is flanked on either side by two of the Op. 6 concerti grossi by another Baroque heavyweight, Arcangelo Corelli. His Concerto No. 4 and No. 8 – the much-loved Christmas Concerto – appear here in a slightly unusual guise. They are usually performed by strings alone, but inspired by recent research, Dan Laurin and his recorder-playing colleague Emelie Roos here take on the solo parts, and the tutti ensemble is joined by oboes and bassoon – while a baroque harp adds to the angelic atmosphere of the closing Christmas Pastorale of Concerto No. 8. The disc closes as it began, with Telemann, whose Concerto in B flat major for winds, strings and basso continuo is a perfect example of the composer’s art, involving playful juggling of different instrumental combinations and musical ideas.

 

“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

 

 

cd_sonates_6-12

 

JH ROMAN – BIS

Dan Laurin, recorder and musical direction
Anna Paradiso, harpsichord

 

 

 

“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.
The revelation comes to me because my prior experience with these sonatas for transverse flute, violone, and harpsichord was with the 2008 Naxos release with Verena Fischer on baroque flute. I liked it when I heard it, but I have to say that when I went back to it after hearing Dan Laurin and company, it seemed rather stodgy in comparison. Laurin makes the solo line come alive in a way that Fischer’s perfectly respectable performances simply don’t. It isn’t the use of baroque guitar or theorbo that makes the difference, though the addition of that color in certain movements, notably the Piva of the tenth sonata, is characteristic of the imagination with which these performances are approached. It comes down to finding the magic in the notes instead of simply playing them well.
I also listened to Jed Wentz’s recordings (Brilliant), using traverse flute as well, based on Bertil van Boer’s recommendation in 39:6. He and his ensemble of period instrument artists are very good interpreters as well. Van Boer goes into some detail on the provenance of these pieces, so I’ll refer the reader to his review for that. I’ll just take one exception to his assessment of Wentz’s playing; he says, “His tone is clear and the intonation precise.” The former is true, the latter occasionally is not. In fact, his tendency to drift flat on held-note phrase-offs made it hard for me to appreciate the many good things about his playing. It’s a major issue for me, perhaps because players like Fischer, and Laurin on recorder, correct this flattening on diminuendos.
The comparison with Wentz also revealed some interesting differences in the readings of the works, as where Laurin takes the Larghetto movement in the seventh sonata in 12 while Wentz takes the same in four. The published score is in 12/8, but while it is odd to have three consecutive slow movements, Laurin and company make the more leisurely journey just as interesting: maybe more so. He actually takes about a third of his personal note discussing this decision. Another contrast, again in tempo, occurs in the ninth sonata where Laurin takes the vivace second movement at a lively moderato so that the many grace figurations are clearly articulated. It is indeed vivacious. Wentz takes the same movement at an allegro, but he must add a slight hesitation for many of the figures, so that the effect is somewhat clumsy. Further, the concluding minuet is rather fast for that courtly dance, as are several other concluding dances where Wentz seems more concerned with a swift conclusion than a characteristic tempo. Laurin is unerringly stylish in all this.
He is, as well in the harmonic treatment of the figured bass, though perhaps here credit should be given to Paradiso Musicale: Anna Paradiso, harpsichord; Mats Olofsson, cello; and Jonas Nordberg, baroque guitar and theorbo. Citing an influential Italian harmony thesis that Roman translated into Swedish, Laurin argues persuasively for an Italianate approach to the harmonization, which adds to the splendid effect of these performances. There are extensive additional notes on Roman and his sonatas, and the BIS imprint assures the highest quality in sound. Highly recommended. Ronald E. Grames” Fanfare (USA)

 

 

Sonates & Suites – BIS

Dan Laurin, recorder and musical direction
Anna Paradiso, harpsichord

 

 

 

“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
1B1 / Jan Bjøranger, leader
Anna Paradiso, harpsichord
Jonas Nordberg, theorbo, baroque guitar

 

 

 

Anna Paradiso, harpsichord and clavichord vol. 2

Johan Helmich Roman: the keyboard sonatas 8-12, vol. 2
BIS, Jan. 2015

“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.
It is certainly not so often that the chlavicord is under the spotlight, almost time for species protection! Especially if one listens to such a skillful player such as Anna Paradiso (what a perfect name for a pop-artist, by the way) approaching Swedish composer Johann Helmich Roman’s  12 sonatas for keyboard instrument.  Which means, they can be played on any instrument, but the chlavicord seems to be just the right one (some are also performed on the harpsichord). Beside the beautiful interpretations, I am delighted by the superb sound. They have never been heard so clear before. This results into a a much closer relation to the music.” (Uppsala nya tidningar, Sweden; transl. by AP)

“… 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

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Anna Paradiso, harpsichord and clavichord vol. 1 -BIS

Johan Helmich Roman: the keyboard sonatas, vol. I
BIS, Jan. 2015

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)


“Anna Paradiso … explains in the folder the principles and criteria that have guided her interpretation and we cannot avoid to recognize that she has wonderfully captured them. It is worth mentioning the care with which she carries out an authentic baroque phrasing, making of every musical gesture a world in itself, with its own timing and articulation. She uses a fantastic rubato (let’s see if others learn it!), which is essential for an adequate development of the musical speech, distinguishing each phrase, ornamenting at will and adding chords now and then … Truly a great disc, for the original repertoire and for the magistral interpretation. It is impossible to imagine a more effective reenactment of this music” (El arte de la fuga, Spain). Transl. A. Paradiso

” … (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)

‘Anna Paradiso is fortunately adept at managing both the apparently irregular rhytmhs of these movements, and the proper ornamentation of everything heard on this album …. everything is dispatched with an ease and stylistic awareness that points to the experienced professional. Overall, I find her equally imaginative yet more period-aware than Joseph Payne’s highly personal account on BIS … Roman gathered 12 of these works, … As this disc contains seven, let’s hope we won’t have to wait long. Recommended.’ Barry Brenesal (Fanfare, USA)

“… a splendid recording” (Fanfare, USA – a review otherwise referring to Dan Laurin’s CD vol. I of Roman’s flute sonatas)

 

 

 

cd_roman_dan_laurinPARADISO MUSICALE/DAN LAURIN

Johan Helmich Roman: The 12 Flute Sonatas vol. I
BIS
, March 2015

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!

https://www.facebook.com/anna.paradisolaurin

 

cd_cembalo_paradisoCEMBALO PARADISO

Anna Paradiso, harpsichord
Barn Cottage Records (2012)
Music by: Frescobaldi, Froberger, A. and D. Scarlatti, Royer, Bach, Leigh, d’Anglebert.

“Exciting, characterful debut … The kind of lively, emotional and metrically irregular style employed by Paradiso is far more authentic than the straightforward, “rattle-trap” style of the majority” (Fanfare, USA)

“Volatile and powerful … Definitely worth experiencing” (Musica Antiqua, UK)
“There is much to admire here with highly characterized performances” (Early Music Today, UK)
“A very fine debut by a harpsichordist of whom I hope to hear more. This interesting and well-played program should be attractive to all lovers of the harpsichord” (MusiWeb International

cd_paradiso_musicaleTHE FATHER, THE SON AND THE GODFATHER

Paradiso Musicale (Dan Laurin, recorders; Henrik Frendin viola; Mats Olofsson, cello; Anna Paradiso, harpsichord)
BIS 2012Music by Georg Philipp Telemann, C.P.E. Bach, J.S. Bach

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)
Paradiso Musicale is a splendid quartet of players who together make music of the highest caliber and most splendid beauty“, (Fanfare USA)
Nomen est omen: Diese CD ist paradiesisch!” (klassik-heute.de)
Les quatre musiciens du ‘Paradiso Musicale’ nous font découvrir avecmaîtrise ce répertoire qu’ils défendent avec ardeur et passion.” (Pizzicato)
Ein Privatissimum in Klängen über einen wichtigen Abschnitt der Musikgeschichte!” Ensemble
A near-ideal Baroque chamber music recital that gives the music the weight and distinctiveness it deserves ” (Allmusic.com)

 

cd_songs_of_yesterdaySONGS OF YESTERDAY

Dan Laurin, recorder; Anna Paradiso, harpsichord / piano BIS 2011

 


Works composed for Carl Dolmetsch’s Wigmore Hall Concerts 1939-65 York Bowen, Edmund Rubbra, Cyril Scott, Herbert Murrill, Walter Leigh, Lennox Berkeley.