29.06.2016 | Frankfurter Neue Presse (DE)
A firework of music and passion and an unbelievable playing technique.
23.04.2016 | Ruhr Nachrichten (DE)
Perfect and noninterchangeable
26.02.2016 | Oberösterreichische Nachrichten (At)
NeoBarock in the Brucknerhaus Linz
Great music, played by NeoBarock virtuously, stylistically absolutely competent and with great passion.
Performance: ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ (of 5)
29.11.2015 | Early Music Review (GB)
About the CD musica artificiosa
Performance: ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗
Recorded Sound: ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗
Booklet Note: ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗
Overall presentation: ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗
(of 5 stars)
When one has seen performers live in concert it impacts on how one listens to and hears a recording. While the concert I heard was of music by Fasch and Stölzel, yet the contagious enthusiasm and excitement they brought to it is clearly audible in this foray into the kaleidoscopic world of the stylus fantasticus. Both violin players (Volker Möller, whose excellent booklet notes include an obituary of the almost unknown Johann Baal, a cleric who unfortunately came to an unsavoury end when he used a door that led to a cliffside…) are equally at home on the scordatura version of their instruments; Möller notes how Schmelzer uses such different scordaturas for the two violins that the work sounds like a sonata for viola and violino piccolo. With all the intricacy going on in the melody parts, NeoBarock wisely limit their continuo section to cello and either harpsichord or organ, and their simple accompaniments provide the perfect backdrop. The booklet and casing are decorated by an original artwork by Gerhard Richter, for which the performers express their thanks; I would like to express my thanks to all concerned for a fabulous hour’s entertainment.
20.04.2015 | Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE)
The ardent presentation by NeoBarock demonstrated Biber’s innovative treatment of the violin – a lavish emotional and intellectual world develops from a tiny germ cell. Such timeless authenticity can be painful.
January 2015 | Early Music Review (GB)
What does one do with The Art of Fugue? A most puzzling work of extraordinary complexity, the 13 contrapuncti and the sequences of canons and fragments are challenging listening, even for the most analytical ears (actually, does anyone fully understand them?) NeoBarock and their collaborator in this project, Robert Schneider (who both wrote the text and presents it), have chosen to present the music in the context of a »melopoem«.
As with every previous NeoBarock recording I have reviewed, the playing is beautiful. The balance between the instruments (violin, violin/viola, viola and cello) is always perfect, in an acoustic that allows their individual voices to be heard clearly without one becoming dominant over the other(s).
I can imagine there will be purists who will object to anything that tampers with »Bach’s original concept« but I would challenge that point of view – given that the work was left incomplete, is it ever going to be possible to determine what his final intention for it was? NeoBarock have taken a calculated risk in confronting this most arcane masterpiece and finding a new way to bring it to fresh audiences – they are to be commended for such audacity, especially given the way they so clearly cherish the music!
26.03.2014 | Huffington Post (USA)
As I wrote a few years ago, »if you’ve had it with serious Bach, Handel and Mozart, then Cologne-based NeoBarock is a good way to go.« I was referring to the invigorating nature of the freelance ensemble’s provocatively themed recordings, and to their performances at historic sites across Germany, Holland and Belgium, ranging from Monteverdi to Bach and Handel to Kirnberger and Mozart, and beyond to Beethoven’s trivial yet revealing early Piano Quartets.
NeoBarock’s provocative new enterprise, Musik der Einsamkeit: Ein Melopoem, is an impressively auteur-ish, post modern film noir excursion into the lonely mysteries of Bach’s unfinished last iconic work, The Art of Fugue. The musical performances are stylistically brilliant, dynamic, passionate and on thecutting edge of where Bach in the 21st century is heading.
NeoBarock’s performance art apparatus is integral to the purpose of the concept. It was conceived and developed with Austrian writer Robert Schneider whose 1995 novel Brother of Sleep had already raised questions of genius and identity. In the novel’s case, the questions were of Schubertian grandeur and tragedy about the life of a forgotten 19th century genius. In Musik der Einsamkeit, the intent is less overtly melodramatic and more reverential, due in part to Schneider’s use of the »Melopoem« a conceit in which strands of texts and music assume an expressive equilibrium without reaching complete fusion.
Reading his own prose and poetry in grey tones which contrast sharply with the brilliant musical performances, Schneider reflects on life and Bach in a contemplative scheme from which a fictional Bach is summoned, »born from the desire of a journey of the dreaming ego.«
Schaffhauser Nachrichten (CH)
Magic moments with NeoBarock
… baroque music to fall in love with. NeoBarock played a sensuous musical firework without any bar of boredom.
Dag og Tid (NO)
Fürther Nachrichten (DE)
Gold diggers at work.
A way of playing that you can’t get enough of. … artistic mastery that is undoubtedly part of a divine order.
Neue Westfälische Zeitung (DE)
Finest precision work
Fono Forum (DE)
… presented so passionately that it really gets under your skin.
That was a live concert of a quality that even the Saxon-Polish King August the Strong may rarely have heard: the concertante blend of the unified sound produced by the two violin virtuosi was constantly remarkable, a perfect fusion of virtuosity, musicality, richness of tone and vibrant stage presence.