Unlike the copiously preserved sacred music, instrumental works by Czech composers in the Prague of the first third of the 18th century are as scarce as hen's teeth. The twenty or so instrumental pieces by Antonin Reichenauer are among the most significant. Reichenauer was a musician in Count Morzin's chapel, in which he assumed the role of in-house composer after Johann Friedrich Fasch. The ensemble's superb quality is documented by the Count's regular contacts with Antonio Vivaldi, whom he engaged as his "maestro di musica in Italia". Among other pieces, Vivaldi dedicated to Morzin his Opus 8, containing the celebrated The Four Seasons. The rarity of Reichenauer's virtuoso concertos is emphasised by their being extremely challenging in technical terms, which serves as evidence of the skills of the chapel's members - even Vivaldi himself lauded them! Many a contemporary musician would find these concertos extremely difficult. This, however, is certainly not the case of the "wizard" Sergio Azzolini and the other soloists featured on this recording. Together with Collegium 1704, an ensemble that gained renown with albums of Jan Dismas Zelenka's paramount compositions, they perform Reichenauer's concertos with a vivacity and energy this music requires. Antonin Reichenauer's Baroque concertos - Vivaldi himself would have been proud.
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