Johan Joachim Agrell – Orchestral Works – Aapo Hakkinen, Helsinki Baroque Orchestra (2010)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 01:16:39 minutes | 1,3 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Aeolus
Recorded: IX/2008, Sellosali, Espoo
Johan Agrell was in many ways a traveler between the worlds: in Uppsala, the Swede’s great talent was recognized by the Hessian envoy, which resulted in Agrell being summoned to a court near Kassel in Germany. He later went as municipal chapel-master to Nuremberg.
Musically, Agrell was a brilliant Baroque composer in whose works many of the new early Classical trends were anticipated. This CD thus continues the series of AEOLUS releases that feature the orchestral music of this exciting period, a series that has already very successfully presented works by Fasch, Hertel, and Molter.
The Helsinki Baroque Orchestra is a shining star of Finland’s musical life. The young musicians around the harpsichordist Aapo Häkkinen appear year after year throughout Europe. Further releases on AEOLUS are in preparation.
‘Outstanding album — and equally outstanding production, with superb surround sound and a bright glossy sheen to the sonics. (…)The Helsinki Baroque Orchestra holds its own with any period band I can think of, and all of the soloists are first-rate in every way.
Agrell (1701-65) is somewhat of an enigma in the history of musical Sweden; an essentially Italian style composer writing music in Germany for much of his life, his often high-ranking connections with the powers that be (like King Friedrich the First’s brother) served for some intermittent periods of financial security and even widespread fame (Vivaldi himself conducted the Sinfonia in E-Flat at a municipal theater in Amsterdam) but never seemed to be either long-lasting or far-reaching. The debts he incurred were not paid off by the family until 1806, and the last twelve years of his life seem shrouded in mystery as he dissolved into the dust in relative obscurity.
The eminent Charles Burney, English critic and snob extraordinaire, took pains to inform readers that Agrell rarely rose above the mediocre, but Burney was notoriously wrong about many composers of his time. One needs only to listen to the phenomenal Violin Concerto to realize that Agrell at his best was considerably good, and his early classicist modeling on the Italian avant-garde provided a bit of future-peaking in his native Sweden, which was then about 100 years off the modern road musically-speaking.
The works on this outstanding disc—and equally outstanding production, with superb surround sound and a bright glossy sheen to the sonics—cover the entire spectrum of Agrell’s life from the early days in Uppsala as a student, to the service of Maximilian of Hesse-Kassel, to the final years in Nuremberg, aptly divided up in the notes to this production. None of the music here is ever less than engaging—those who only like J.C. Bach will love this—and the greatest pieces, like the aforementioned Violin Concerto, the Double Concerto, and the A-major Sinfonia, are wonderful examples of the best Swedish art of the period. The now-14-year-old Helsinki Baroque Orchestra holds its own with any period band I can think of, and all of the soloists are first-rate in every way.’ –Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition
Johan Joachim Agrell (1701-1765)
Sinfonia for Strings, Flutes and Basso continuo, A major
1. Allegro assai 05:33
2. Andante 03:41
3. Menuet Trio 03:54
4. Presto 01:10
Violin Concerto for Violin, Strings and B.c., D major
5. Allegro 05:47
6. Largo 04:05
7. Allegro 04:50
Double Concerto, op. 4 no. 2 for Harpsichord, Flute, Strings and B.c., B minor
8. Allegro 06:05
9. Andante 07:19
10. Allegro 05:02
Sinfonia for Strings and B.c., D major
11. Allegro 04:04
12. Andante 03:14
13. Presto 01:31
Oboe Concerto for Oboe, Strings and B.c., B flat major
14. Allegro assai (violin/orchestra) 03:22
15. Adagio 04:02
16. Allegro 02:53
Sinfonia for Strings and B.c., E flat major
17. Allegro 03:11
18. Andante 04:47
19. Allegro 02:09
Aapo Häkkinen, Harpsichord, Conductor
Helsinki Baroque Orchestra