A weekly ‘concert’ taken from the finest recordings in the extensive Academy of Ancient Music catalogue: join us each Sunday at 3pm on Spotify as we unveil a new playlist of music, personally chosen by AAM players, directors, soloists and guests.
Academy of Ancient Music Principal Violist Jane Rogers joins us Sunday 26 July 2020 to programme her favourites from the AAM discography. From early albums that influenced her studies in historical performances, to her first recordings and ensuing major projects with AAM, Jane’s choices are wide-ranging and highly insightful.
Jane Rogers is one of the UK’s leading exponents in baroque and classical viola. At the age of sixteen she was awarded a music scholarship to St Edward’s College Liverpool and went on to study viola at the Royal Academy of Music in London. During this time she gained a place in the European Union Baroque Orchestra and then began freelancing in the field of early music.
She was co-principal viola in The English Concert for ten years and played principal viola with the English Baroque Soloists, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and The King’s Consort. Jane is currently principal viola with the Academy of Ancient Music, La Nuova Musica and Brecon Baroque. She also plays frequently with Arcangelo, Classical Opera, Dunedin Consort, Florilegium and La Serenissima. A keen chamber musician, Jane was also a member of the Amsterdam String Quartet, Terzetto and the Eroica String Quartet during which time she worked closely with Professor Clive Brown.
Jane’s recording career has been prolific and she has featured on over 200 CD recordings for Erato, Channel Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, Hyperion and Chandos as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. Jane enjoys and devotes a great deal of time to teaching and coaching chamber music. She holds a post of professor of historical viola and viola d’amore at the Royal Academy of music, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and has taught masterclasses all over the world.
‘A particularly memorable Handel oratorio that Christopher Hogwood recorded, this project employed a stellar cast of soloists that were very influential to many of us of that generation, interested as we were in baroque performance. With the great Handelian Dame Joan Sutherland in the leading role (perhaps her first foray into recording with period instruments), and amazing singers such as James Bowman, David Thomas, Emma Kirkby, Aled Jones, Anthony Rolfe Johnson also featured, I used to listen to this recording over and over. In this particular chorus, a trio of boy choristers from New College Oxford lend a heavenly grace to the opening moments before it develops into a massive choral structure that only Handel can write, over an ostinato-type bass line. Absolute perfection…’
‘I absolutely adored this project, a glorious collaboration between Lucie Horsch and (AAM leader) Bojan Čičić. Lucie is such a wonderful musician and great to work – I think AAM really bloomed and grew under hers and Bojan’s sunny and relaxed influence. Lucie comes from a long tradition of excellence – the Dutch ‘school’ of recorder playing is world-renowned and her teacher Walter van Hauwe was a dear colleague of mine from early Florilegium recording days. It’s fantastic to see the high standards of playing and dedication to the recorder being passed on to such deserving and talented young musicians.’
‘One of the first recordings I ever made whilst still at music college and performing with AAM, this disk of arias with Emma Kirkby has many favourites. Recorded in Walthamstow Town Hall, this is one of my formative projects with AAM and one that sticks in my mind to this day. This was the first time I met the legendary violinist Brian Smith, who had clever and often very naughty nicknames for everyone in the music profession. To give you an idea of the context, he called his wife the LSO (an abbreviation usually associated with the London Symphony Orchestra of which he was also a member) but in this case it was short for Long Suffering One!
There’s a fantastic story about the AAM’s leader Catherine Mackintosh who was wonderfully scatty at the best of times. One day Brian decided to play a trick on her when he realised that Cat had left the recording studio during break in pursuit of a cuppa. She had however made the mistake of leaving her rather large handbag hanging on the back of her chair. Quickly, Brian scoured the room for as much rubbish as he could find (empty cups, old newspapers, discarded broken strings, sweet wrappers, etc) and stuffed them all in Cat’s handbag before she returned. After Cat had tuned her violin, Brian asked to borrow a pencil, prompting Cat to rummage though the detritus. To the huge amusement of all she had failed to even notice the extra rubbish in her bag until it was pointed out to her that she had gained about 5 cups, three newspapers, several chocolate wrappers and all the other stuff at which point she totally lost it and laughed uncontrollably for a good 5 minutes before we could continue with the recording session!’
‘Another of my favourite recordings is the very famous ‘L’estro armonico’ (‘The Harmonic Inspiration’) disc, featuring a crack assemblage of solo violins and the fabulous team of Trevor Jones and Jan Schlapp in the violas – it was this team of violists which most inspired me as a student. Jan was my baroque viola teacher at the RAM and Trevor became my desk partner in The English Concert, The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and AAM to name but a few. I owe them both so much for being such great role models and also for helping me into the profession in such a generous manner.
One of my favourite concerti from this amazing set of works is Concerto No. 11 and in particular the fugue which is wonderful to play from the perspective of every part. I’m convinced that at the point where the viola leads the link into the final chords, you can hear Christopher singing along to the viola part as he’s conducting, a common practice of his but not always discernible in the finished product. Put up your headphones for this one (03:45 in the first movement)!’
Mozart, Requiem: Introit, Requiem, Dies Irae, Recordare, Domine Jesu
Elin Manahan Thomas, Christine Rice, James Gilchrist, Christopher Purves, Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Stephen Cleobury
‘I’ve always enjoyed working with Stephen Cleobury and King’s College Choir, Cambridge – my first project with them was in 1989 whilst I was a 2nd year student at the RAM. It was a Matthew Passion and it began a 30 year association for me with one of the world’s best loved choirs. I think one of the most important things about AAM is its continued alliance with the Oxford and Cambridge college choirs, an ongoing tradition to be treasured.
Stephen was an intelligent, respectful and experienced director who always selected wonderful and inspiring vocal soloists for our collaborations. One felt that not only was he ensuring excellent performance standards but that a mindful eye was kept on educating the next generation of potential musicians by exposing the choristers to top-class and influential musicians. He is very much missed. The movements of the Requiem chosen here are some of my ‘desert island discs’ -in particular the ‘Domine Jesu’ with its reference to the Archangel Michael (my favourite of all the angels and perhaps AAM’s patron saint? Arch-Angel Michael…?)’
‘Another of the discs that I wore out as a student – revelling in the sounds of the early piano and period instruments daringly playing music as late as Beethoven! This concerto has always seemed so shocking and ground-breaking with its solo piano opening and incredible contrasts of light and shade, harshness and gentleness, exhilaration and despair. It’s a recording which influenced me a lot as a young musician.’
‘I love Bach’s choral music with a passion and this is an especially significant work for me (I got married late last year and it is after all a wedding cantata!). The way in which the horn part doubles the treble line in the choir is utterly mind-blowing and celestial, especially when the top two parts are sung by choir boys in the tradition of both English and German church choirs.
There’s also a deeper significance for me with this piece which relates to Christopher Hogwood himself. The idea of a committed loyal partnership isn’t exclusive to wedded unions; in the case of our wonderful orchestra, I am constantly reminded of Christopher’s commitment, care and loyalty to his colleagues and friends, both when he decided to step down and entrust the baton to various directors who have been lucky enough to bask in the glow of his altruism, and also in his posthumous generosity which has enabled the orchestra and choir to continue into the future.
I am especially reminded of this right now when, during the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing cancellations, AAM was pretty much the ONLY organisation to pay its musicians for cancelled concerts due to the generosity of its supporters and patrons. This was a decision of which I am sure that Chris would heartily approved, and I can only thank AAM and Chris’s influence from the bottom of my heart for this level of thoughtfulness and care.’
Mozart, Zaide: Act II, No. 15 Quartteto: ‘Freundin stille deine Tränen’
Hans Peter Blochwitz, Herbert Lippert, Lynne Dawson, Olaf Bär, Paul Goodwin
‘Another recording of which I have fond memories is Mozart’s Zaide with Paul Goodwin conducting. Paul always brings such an infectious sense of fun and exuberance to his performances, and I was lucky enough to play together with him in my first proper orchestra position after leaving the RAM in 1991 (as co-principal viola in Trevor Pinnock’s English Concert). Paul was principal oboist at that time and I have always felt very inspired by his musicianship and sunny, positive disposition which he brought to his oboe playing and conducting.
Zaide is a fairly early work of Mozart’s and characterised by his use (as in so many of his earlier works) of divided viola parts which are lovely to play and make for a beautifully rich sonority. I particularly love the Finale in this work which showcases some really wonderful singing from the soloists. We recorded this piece in Poissy in France in 1997 as part of a small tour and somehow I managed to badly sprain my ankle getting off the tour bus after one of the concerts. As it happened, I ended up hobbling around bandaged-up on crutches for the rest of the tour; try doing that whilst carrying a handbag, a viola and wheeling a suitcase! Oh the glamour!’
‘For my encores I’d like to choose two contrasting things, starting with a particularly fun (and fitting!) ABBA single, and finishing with a beautiful rendition of ‘M. John Langtons Pavan from Lachrimae or Seaven Teares’ from Fretwork. I love the bitter sweet sighing quality of this wonderful pavan which seems to sum everything up about life and music and the universe without further need for words…’