The Orchestra Les Muffatti - Photo: Stéphane Puopolo Les Muffatti - Photo: Stéphane Puopolo Les Muffatti - Photo: Stéphane Puopolo  

 

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LES MUFFATTI, the brainchild of a group of young Brussels-based musicians, was born in 1996 out of a desire to create a professional environment which would focus on baroque orchestral repertoire, and which would devote equal attention to the joy of performance, close musical study, and the demands of the craft in terms of accuracy with sophistication. The ensemble's blend of enthusiasm, dedication and idealism so impressed Peter Van Heyghen that he decided to become their mentor and conductor. Between 2004 (the year they welcomed Van Heyghen) and 2014, Les Muffatti made waves on the international stage, performing at a number of leading venues all over Europe. Over time, the group has developed a distinctive artistic identity, part of which involves sharing responsibility for artistic direction jointly among its members. Each project is entrusted to a guest musician the musical director of one project might be a soloist; the conductor or leader might take over the next. The orchestra is exploring a range of major projects over the coming years, including working with a writer in residence and showcasing rare instruments. At the same time, it is always sensitive to the need to maintain a balance between performing key repertoire and publicising hidden gems.

The group's name is a hat-tip to Georg Muffat (1653-1704), a cosmopolitan composer who played a key part in the history of orchestral music. Muffat was among the first musicians to provide detailed descriptions of the main differences between the French and Italian Baroque styles, and fittingly the ensemble's first recording was devoted to his compositions. To date, Les Muffatti have released six CDs, all to widespread acclaim. In 2014 their latest release, Reinhard Keiser's Brockes-Passion, recorded in cooperation with the Vox Luminis vocal ensemble, was awarded three of Belgium's major music prizes: Klara classical CD of the year, the Caecilia prize (Union de la presse musicale belge) and Octave de la musique classique.

Les Muffatti's interpretation and performance practice constantly strives for mastery of the theatrical quality so characteristic of Baroque art forms, an ambition which extends far beyond delivering a mere accurate rendition of a score. The ensemble takes the view that the theatrical gestures, mannerisms and rhetorical flourishes of Baroque music cannot be dismissed as products of a fundamentally Baroque aesthetic, but that they are instead essentially universal. Thorough knowledge of stylistic features, a grounding in period performance, and careful selection of appropriate instruments are not, in Les Muffatti's consideration, ends in themselves. In the ensemble's hands, such technical requirements constitute the means of making the historical repertoire which is so close to its heart come alive to touch, move, entertain and captivate contemporary audiences.

 

 

 
   
Recent update: 20.12.12
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