Record Label - ATMA Classique: "What inspires us is simply our passion for recording sound, and for sharing, both through the traditional medium of the disc and through cyberspace, our acoustic images of imagined worlds."
German baroque composer Johann Rosenmüller (1617-1684) spent the first half of his adult life in Leipzig. He spent the rest of his life in Italy after being imprisoned on charges of homosexuality, jailed, and subsequently absconding to Venice. Considered by some scholars to be "the greatest master of German instrumental music before Bach and Handel" (musicologist Kurt Gudewill), the Sonate a 2, 3, 4 e 5 stromenti of 1682 on this ATMA Classique album are considered the crowning achievement of his instrumental output. They are also deemed the most successful fusion of German and Italian styles of the early baroque. His music enjoyed great popularity during and well after his time; it was also a considerable influence on his contemporary composers.
Made up of anywhere from three to twelve brief and contrasting sections, Rosenmüller intended these twelve sonatas to be performed by strings and basso continuo as they are here. His familiarity and use of both Italian and German styles gives his music a remarkable range of textures, and a never-ending flow of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic invention keeps the music fresh and interesting. His music can be highly chromatic - he will sometimes employ parallel lines of rising and falling half-steps as the harmonic foundation for his embellished melodic line.
Aside from a dozen or so CDs ever produced that are devoted entirely to Rosenmüller's, there are some 25 more anthology-type programs which contain a track or two of his music. Of those, only about a dozen are currently available, which makes the release of this beautifully performed program from the Montreal-based early music band Ensemble Masques all the more welcome. This should not be missed by anyone who enjoys exploring 17th-century chamber music.
Ensemble Masques returns with a recording of music by the German baroque composer Johann Rosenmüller. The composer’s 25 year soujourn in Venice inspired the most personal and expressive of his instrumental music, among which are the 12 sonatas included on this recording. Masques’s previous ATMA recording of music by Rameau garnered 5 Diapasons from the prestigious French magazine of the same name.
Masques is a Montreal–based early music ensemble acclaimed for its expressiveness, the eloquence of its musical interpretations, and the dynamic musical involvement of its members. Founder and Artistic Director Olivier Fortin is increasingly sought after as a soloist and chamber musician. He is active as a recording artist and tours regularly throughout Europe, the United States and Canada with ensembles such as Masques, Capriccio Stravagante and
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.
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Composer: Johann Rosenmüller
Johann Rosenmüller received his early musical training at the Lateinschule at Oelsnitz and matriculated in the theological faculty of the University of Leipzig in 1640. There he most likely continued his musical studies with Tobias Michael, Kantor of the Thomasschule, and he is listed as an assistant there in 1642, teaching music in the lower classes. In 1651 he was also appointed organist of the Nicolaikirche.
With a core of 6 musicians, each specialized in baroque music, Masks is known for its expressiveness, eloquence of musical interpretations and involvement of its members. Masks performs in concerts throughout North America and Europe with the support of the Council of Arts and Letters of Quebec. Its concerts and recordings on the Analekta and ATMA labels are frequently greeted with enthusiasm by critics.
Founder and director of the Montreal-based early music ensemble Masques, Olivier Fortin graduated with distinction from the Québec Conservatory in 1995. He continued his training with Dom André Laberge, obtained a Master Degree from University of Montreal under the direction of Prof.
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Watch Ensemble Masques perform Johann Rosenmuller's Sonata in F.