The Croatian Baroque Ensemble and the British violinist Catherine Mackintosh perform “Air” and “Gavotte” from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068. At the Croatian Music Institute Zagreb on December 5, 2010.
“Air” is one of the most famous pieces of baroque music. An arrangement of the piece by German violinist August Wilhelmj (1845–1908) has come to be known as Air on the G String.
The Croatian Baroque Ensemble is Croatia’s most distinguished ensemble specialized in the historically authentic interpretations of music from the Baroque and similar style periods on original instruments and their quality replicas. Founded in 1999, the ensemble consists of the renowned young musicians, both instrumentalists, and vocalists, who have already affirmed themselves in the performance of Baroque music.
In addition to their 7 concert cycles at the Croatian Music Institute, they perform on a regular basis at numerous national and international festivals (the Varaždin Baroque Evenings, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, the Split Summer Festival, the Zagreb Baroque Festival, the St. Donat Festival, the Histria Festival, the Concerts at the Euphrasian Basilica, the Rovinj Summer Festival, the Lubenice Music Evenings, the Osijek Baroque Church Music Festival, the Mostar Festival, the Pag Summer Festival, the Slavonski Brod Summer Festival, the Croatian Music Festival in Vienna, the Central European Sacred Music Festival in Rome, the Brežice Festival, the Tesori Musicali Toscani Festival in Pisa, etc.).
In their concert programmes, the ensemble often features soloists and conductors with an authentic approach in the Baroque music performing (Richard Egarr, Herve Niquet, Werner Ehrhardt, Catherine Mackintosh, Stefano Montanari, Aapo Hakkinnen, Philip Pickett, David Staff, Teresa Caudle, Mimi Mitchell, Adrian Butterfield, Peter Lönnerberg, Ryo Terakardo, Laurence Cummings, Andreas Helm…). The programmes of the Croatian Baroque Ensemble extensively feature Croatian baroque composers, i.e. those who worked in Croatia (F. Sponga-Usper, G. Usper, T. Cecchini, V. Jelić, I. Lukačić, G. Puliti, L. Sorkočević, etc.). On the ensemble’s CD entitled Cecchini & Co., Laura Vadjon and Mario Penzar perform the Croatian and Italian baroque sonatas.
Other releases include a CD with Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, and the HRBA Live CD with the ensemble’s most successful performances in the first 10 seasons. In 2009, the ensemble took part in the acclaimed international Dubrovnik Summer Festival’s production of G. F. Handel opera Acis and Galatea, directed by Dora Ruždjak Podolski, under the artistic leadership of Philip Pickett, which a critic of the Jutatnji List magazine called “a miracle at Fort Lovrjenac”. Owing to its highly professional, clear, and virtuosic interpretations, the Croatian Baroque Ensemble is considered one of Croatia’s finest ensembles by music critics and audiences alike. The ensemble’s line-up is flexible and, depending on the programmes, ranges from the smallest one including 3 musicians to big projects with a chamber choir and soloists.
“During the outstanding performance of this highly spirited ensemble, we could hear the breaking of strings, which not at all spoiled this gallant musical celebration” – Večernji List. “One of Zagreb’s finest music ensembles” – Jutarnji List.
The ensemble was awarded Orlando Prize for their performance „Gentle love, cruel love“ at the 65th Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
Catherine Mackintosh was one of the first of her generation to specialize in early string-playing techniques. After a conventional violin training at The Royal College of Music in London, she took up the viol and baroque violin and was immediately in demand from such pioneering groups as Musica Reservata, The English Consort of Viols and The Consort of Musicke, with whom she sometimes played up to seven instruments in one concert! Catherine was appointed the leader of The Academy of Ancient Music in 1973. During her fifteen-year tenure, she made countless recordings. Since the foundation of The Purcell Quartet in 1984 Catherine has concentrated more on solo and chamber music and has recorded Bach concertos for violin with The King’s Consort for Hyperion.
As a professor of baroque and classical violin and viola at The Royal College of Music since 1977, she has passed on her enthusiasm for early style in performance to countless younger musicians and is frequently invited to direct workshops and give masterclasses. She is visiting professor of baroque violin and viola at The Royal Scottish Academy.