Walter Reiter founded Cordaria in 1999, primarily to perform and record the violin repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries, and their first CD for Signum Records, a premier recording on period instruments of Vivaldi’s Violin Sonatas Op 2, was internationally acclaimed. His previous recordings had included the ‘Recreations’ of Leclair for Addes, France, and sonatas by Mondonville for Meridian. Walter has played solo recitals in France, Germany, Austria, Israel, England and Canada, has given numerous masterclasses, teaches regularly in Israel, and is a tutor in the Early Music project at the University of Birmingham. He is also active as a conductor, and is Musical Director of the Linden Baroque Orchestra and Choir in London, with whom he recorded a CD of music by Fasch.

Born in England of Polish-Viennese Jewish parents and brought up on the wild Atlantic coast of Ireland on a diet of Mahler and Irish music, Walter Reiter learned the violin with his mother, who had never studied it, but came from a musical family and knew how it should sound. He studied Music and Drama at Glasgow University, graduated in violin from the Royal Academy of Music in London, and continued his studies under Ramy Shevelov in Tel Aviv and Sandor Vegh in Germany, After working in symphony and chamber orchestras, including the Menuhin Festival Orchestra, in a string quartet, a Bluegrass band, contemporary music groups in Paris and a cabaret in Pigalle, and in the Jerusalem Conservatory, where he taught a class of talented children, his love for the music of the 17th and 18th centuries brought him to the study of ‘authentic’ performance practice on period instruments, and this has been his passion ever since.

He has led Les Arts Florissants, the Netherlands Bach Society Orchestra, the Hanover Band, the Sixteen, the Gabrieli Consort, the King’s Consort, and the Symphony of Harmony and Invention, and has directed and appeared as soloist with the Orchestra Barocca Italiana, the Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, and the Varazdin Festival Orchestra. Since 1989 he has led the second violins in The English Concert, with whom he has toured and recorded extensively.

“… an artist who transcends authenticity to enter the universal…his technique is flawless… his understanding of different styles utterly convincing.”
(‘Kol ha Ir’, Jerusalem)

“It was love at first sight for the baroque violin… as played by that exceptional musician, Walter Reiter”.
(‘Cannes Matin’, France)

On the first Cordaria recording – of Sonatas by Vivaldi – Walter Reiter is joined by the Israeli harpsichordist Shalev Ad-El, whose solo career includes a much-praised CD of music by Bach for Chandos Records, Katherine Sharman, widely known as a continuo player, soloist and chamber musician, and Linda Sayce, also an internationally-known continuo player and a founder member of the continuo group charivari agréable.

The second Cordaria recording – the Biber Mystery Sonatas – involved seven performers:

Timothy Roberts studied Music at Cambridge University and at the Guildhall School of Music in London, where his harpsichord teachers were the late Christopher Kite and Jill Severs. For a number of years he has been principal continuo with the Gabrieli Consort and Players. Active as a soloist and chamber musician, Tim also directs several groups, including His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts and his own ensemble Invocation, dedicated to reviving lesser-known British vocal chamber music. Tim has published many editions of 17th-19th-century music, most recently Restoration song anthologies for OUP and Fretwork Editions.

Elizabeth Kenny has established herself as one of Europe’s foremost lute players. Her solo repertoire ranges from the renaissance to the 18th century, and she is in great demand as a continuo player with many leading period ensembles (Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Les Arts Florissants, The Gabrieli Consort) and with chamber music ensembles (The Greate Consort, Concordia, L’ensemble Orlando Gibbons (France) and Cordaria). Her CD of songs with Robin Blaze was ‘one of the most outstanding recitals of its kind on disc’ (Gramophone). Elizabeth is professor of lute at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin.

Joanna Levine is a versatile performer on the cello, viola da gamba and violone. She is a member of the viol consort Concordia, with whom she has made numerous recordings, including the Gramophone award-winning disc of Purcell viol fantasies. She is much in demand as a viol soloist in the Bach Passions, and the Times critic wrote, ‘For the power of sheer non-verbal expression, Joanna Levine’s viola da gamba solo… took some beating’.

Frances Kelly read music at Cambridge University, and studied the harp under Phia Berghout. Her repertoire extends from the Middle Ages to the present day, and her recordings include Mozart’s Concerto for flute and harp (with the Academy of Ancient Music), Handel’s harp concerto (with the Brandenburg Consort), and Britten’s ‘Ceremony of Carols’. Increasingly involved in exploring early harps and the use of the harp as a continuo instrument, Frances is much in demand with leading early music groups, including the English Concert, Gabrieli Consort, and the New London Consort, and in productions of early opera.

One of Britain’s leading ambassadors for the viol, Mark Levy is best known as director of the viol consort Concordia, with whom he has made numerous highly-praised CDs, including a complete Gibbons series. Mark is a visiting Lecturer at Southampton University and has taught on numerous courses including Dartington International Summer School.

Kah-Ming Ng, an experienced and talented keyboard player, is best known as director of the innovative period instrument trio Charivari Agréable, which also records for Signum Records.

Cordaria’s third disc – Un’alma Innamorata – involved five new musicians to the group’s recording line up:

Canadian soprano Linda Perillo has been acclaimed in North America, Europe and further afield, as one of the great Baroque sopranos of her generation. She has performed throughout North America both with period instrument groups such as Tafelmusik in Toronto and the San Francisco Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and with symphony orchestras including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and the C.B.C., Vancouver Orchestra. Her career in Europe includes performances and recordings with Trevor Pinnock, Paul McCreesh, Hermann Max, and Phillipe Herreweghe, and concerts with Jean-Claude Malgoire and Ton Koopman. Her operatic appearances include Purcell’s King Arthur with Harry Christophers, Tolomeo with Howard Arman, and Handel’s Acis and Galatea with both the Wiener Akademie and Opera Atelier. She appears frequently with The Israel Camerata, has sung in festivals in the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Croatia, and the Phillipines, and has appeared with Cordaria in festivals in the UK and Europe.

Lynda Sayce read music at Oxford and studied lute with Jakob Lindberg at the Royal College of Music. She performs worldwide with Charivari Agreable, of which she is a founding member, the New London Consort, the Academy of Ancient Music, and the King’s Consort. She has contributed articles to Early Music, the revised New Grove Dictionary of Music, and the art journal Apollo. She is currently writing a history of the theorbo, to be published in 2003-4.

Katherine Sharman was born in New Zealand, and studied with Tanya Prochazka, Steven Isserlis and Jennifer Ward-Clarke. She performs a wide variety of solo and chamber music and plays principal cello with The King’s Consort, the Academy of Ancient Music, The Sixteen and the Gabrieli Consort.

Paula Chateauneuf, one of early music’s leading lute and early guitar players, performs with many of the finest early music ensembles: the New London Consort, the Gabrieli Consort, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Academy of Ancient Music, and Le Concert des Nations. She has recorded for Decca, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, Hyperion, CRD and Virgin Classics.

Jan Walters performs on a range of harps from medieval to modern, with special emphasis on continuo accompaniment. She has performed and recorded with The Consort of Musicke, Tragicomedia, Red Byrd, The Gabrieli Consort, The Sixteen, and The Purcell Quartet, and her group Musica Fabula has three CD releases on ASV.

  • 2012 marks the 15th anniversary of the first release from the leading independent classical label Signum Records. Beginning life as an early music specialist (with a landmark release of the Complete Works of Thomas Tallis with Chapelle du Roi), Signum has grown since 1997 to a catalogue of over 300 releases across a wide range of genres. In this Early Music collection, you can hear a wide rage of works by Gallicantus, the OAE, Gabrieli Consort, Chapelle du Roi and many more all on one disc - all selected from titles across the Signum catalogue.
    Extracts from 26 discs of composers ranging from Tallis to Telemann provide Signum Classics with a colourful shop window from which we can pick and chooseBBC Music Magazine
  • This two disc set of Heinrich von Biber's Rosary or Mystery Sonatas presents the complete set of fifteen sonatas and the concluding passacaglia which appears in the sole surviving Munich manuscript. The sonatas each correspond to the fifteen mysteries or meditations on the life of Christ. The meditations are traditionally grouped into three groups of five; Joyful - his early life, Sorrowful - his passion; Glorious - his ressurection. In writing the sonatas Biber uses scordatura, tuning the strings to a different set of notes for each sonata. This  achieves technical feats impossible with normal tuning and results in different sonorities resulting from the varying amounts of pressure from the strings and achieving the different desired mood for each sonata. For the violinist, this involves a constant contradiction between sight and sound, for what he sees is not be what he hears! Thoughtful, reflective and poetic .... his performances are stylish, idiomatic and vivid - BBC Music Magazine A beautifully judged performance - Gramophone The performances are astounding, the variety of bow strokes, the ornamentation of repeats, the occasional colouring of the violins sound - it's simply wonderful .... This is my recommendation for the month - Early Music Review
  • The emergence of the basso continuo (or “figured bass”) was one of the critical moments in this history of music. Figured bass, upon which a keyboard player or lutenist could improvise harmony, meant that a single musician could provide the necessary harmonies which would previously have needed several players. In the early part of the seventeenth century, large numbers of extremely virtuosic solo motets and sonatas started to appear. The combination of solo voice with one instrument and continuo was quite common, and pieces with violin were the most common of all. This new collection from Cordaria features cantatas for soprano, violin and basso continuo, written by composers including Samuel Capricornus, Dietrich Buxtehude, Antonio Vivaldi , Georg Phillipp Telemann and Georg Frederic Handel.
  • Traditionally known as the composer of the Four Seasons and the Gloria, the work of Cecilia Bartoli has shown that lesser-known works of the red priest from Venice can become hit records too.

    Now Signum Records are delighted to introduce a two disc set on period instruments of the 12 Violin Sonatas, Opus 2. Cordaria features internationally-renowned baroque violinist Walter Reiter, "an artist who transcends authenticity to enter the universal" as one critic wrote, and an eminent continuo team of harpsichord, cello and theorbo.

    Written in 1708, just before the 'L'estro armonico' concertos, these sonatas contain all the passion and the virtuosity, all the lyricism and emotion, which have made the concertos so eternally popular. In the words of the great Vivaldi scholar Michael Talbot, "Op. 2 is fully Vivaldian and certainly deserves to take its place among his other masterworks."

    [Reiter] shows himself to be a stylish, no-nonsense player, who in slower movements mixes a clean often sweetly singing line with tasteful ornamentation which refuses to draw undue attention to itself, and who in faster ones shows real virtuosity and fire - Gramophone  
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