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8 tracks 63 min

Profound music for contemplation

Quiet music crossing four centuries, from the calm lute of the sixteenth century to the rich harmonies of the nineteenth, in a programme of some of the most profound music ever written. Long adagios contrast with a series of short but moving pieces. Music by JS Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler and others.

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A Musical Moment
Profound music for contemplation

1 Vita in ligno moritur, prima pars
Ludwig Senfl (c.1486-c.1543)
Lynda Sayce, bass lute

2 Pavana dolorosa
Peter Philips (c.1561-1628)
Martin Souter, virginals

3 Partita in D minor BWV1004 - Chaconne
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Ilya Ioff, violin

4 Sonata in C minor K457 - Adagio
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Martin Souter, piano

5 Pavane
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Sam Piha & Martin Vishnik, guitars

6 Symphony No 5 - Adagietto
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
Radio Symphony Orchestra Ljubljana conducted by Anton Nanut

7 Sonata in F minor Op2/1 - Adagio
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Martin Souter, piano

8 Piano Concerto No20 in D minor, K466 - Romance Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Felicja Blumental, piano, Innsbruck Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Wagner

Tracks 1 & 2 recorded at Jericho Farm Studios
Tracks 3, 6 and 8 courtesy of Countdown Media GmbH
Tracks 4 & 7 recorded by kind permission on historic keyboard instruments in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Track 5 recorded in Summertown, Oxford

Cover image: Girl with a Pearl Earring Jan Vermeer (1632-75) Mauritshaus, The Hague/ The Bridgeman Art Library
This compilation P & C 2007 Classical Communications Ltd
Made in Great Britain

A Musical Moment
Profound music for contemplation

This album begins in the world of the 'girl with a pearl earring' with lute music that she might have heard in the houses and artists' studios of Delft. Ludwig Senfl, the composer of the first track, was one of Northern Europe's most famous musicians. He sang in the Imperial chapel and, like so many musicians of the day, became involved in the religious controversy between Catholic and Protestant which raged at the time and which affected even Jan Vermeer, a Reformed Protestant who married into a Catholic family. He composed mainly choral music, but many of his works were arranged for other instruments, particularly the lute, thus allowing his calm and austere musical style to be played in the home. Peter Philips was also involved in the religious issues of the day, an Englishman who fled to Northern Europe and eventually to Italy. He was a prolific composer, although only a relatively small amount of keyboard music has survived. The 'Pavana dolorosa' is played here on a virginals, a small oblong keyboard instrument of the type which appears in many Dutch paintings of the period.

Johann Sebastian Bach composed a sublime set of partitas for solo violin. A partita is a suite of dance movements, and the 'chaconne' from the D minor suite is one of his most famous works. The music unfolds gradually in a series of ever more elaborate patterns over a standardised chord sequence. Mozart and Beethoven were famous in their day as keyboard players, and they both wrote substantial amounts of piano music for publication during their lifetime. Both adagios heard here are sublime works: calm and reflective while retaining an inner luminosity and thus suited to Vermeer's style of painting. Mozart's 'Piano Concerto in D minor' is one of his best known. Calm outer sections regulate a more turbulent central development, as if any troubling thoughts which emerge from the initial calm are eventually resolved.

Two more composers are represented on our album of calming music. Gabriel Fauré was a teacher and composer in Paris around a century ago. He often wrote music in deliberately 'antique' style, and his lovely 'Pavane' is his own tribute to the music of previous centuries. Mahler famously wrote lengthy symphonies which explored through music the full range of human emotion and thought with an intensity rarely equalled. The 'Adagietto' comes from the Fifth Symphony and is pure bliss in music.

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