Wilhelm van Wassenaer: Six Concerti Armonici

Classic FM Drive Featured Album, 15 December 2014.

These six popular concertos were published in The Hague in 1740, but without the name of their composer. Speculation abounded as to whether they might have been by Handel - and then Pergolesi was generally thought to have been responsible. 

It was only just over 30 years ago that a Dutch musicologist worked out who the real composer was - a distinguished 18th century Dutch Diplomat, Count Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer, who was known and admired as much for his musical as his political talents. Wassenaer apparently was not satisfied with the pieces but they have long been recognised as a remarkable accomplishment, even before the composer was identified.

Here the Innovation Chamber Ensemble -  formed in 2001 by the principal string players of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra -  gives the concertos the performances they deserve. The musicians have mastered Wassenaer's superb writing for strings, capturing its beauty, poetry and energy and the unique Baroque voice of their little-known composer.