Virtuosi Saxoniae

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The Virtuosi Saxoniae is a chamber orchestra devoted largely to 18th century Baroque works, especially those from that era with a performance history at the Dresden Court. Thus the ensemble's repertory…
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The Virtuosi Saxoniae is a chamber orchestra devoted largely to 18th century Baroque works, especially those from that era with a performance history at the Dresden Court. Thus the ensemble's repertory is rich in music by Jan Dismas Zelenka, Johann Friedrich Fasch, and Johann Adolf Hasse. But it also includes large chunks of the outputs of J.S. Bach, Vivaldi, and Telemann, as well as works by many lesser known figures, like Johann David Heinichen, Johann Melchior Molter, and Johann Gottlieb Graun. In addition, the ensemble's repertory extends into the classical era to take in works by Haydn, Mozart, and other composers. The Virtuosi Saxoniae consist of about 23 players, all of whom are members of the Dresden Staatskapelle. Often the number of players in a given concert contracts from 20 or so to a handful owing to the demands of repertory. The VS has given regular concerts at the Dresden Lukaskirche, Frauenkirche, and other Dresden locations and have toured throughout Germany and abroad. The ensemble has appeared on over 100 recordings for such labels as Berlin Classics, Delta, and Carus.

The Virtuosi Saxoniae was founded in 1985 by Ludwig Güttler, who serves as the ensemble's music director. He also regularly appears in concert with the ensemble as trumpet or corno da caccia soloist. Güttler chose the name Virtuosi Saxoniae not only to reflect the connection to the repertory of the (Saxon) Dresden Court, but to indicate the high level of musicianship both at the court and in his modern-day ensemble. The VS gave its inaugural concert at the 1986 Dresden Music Festival.

The orchestra quickly drew notice and among its first recordings was a 1988 Eterna disc entitled Kursächsische Kirchenmusik -- Cantatas for tenor & trumpet, with famed tenor Peter Schreier and Güttler on trumpet. A string of successful recordings followed, including the 1993 Berlin Classics CD Konzerte für Trompete und Corno da Caccia, which featured works by Handel, Hertel, Rathgeber, and others. Throughout the 1990s and into the new century the VS drew broad acclaim both for its concert performances and considerably bulging discography.

Having previously performed at the Frauenkirche catacombs, the VS began regularly appearing in concert at the restored Frauenkirche from 2005, the year the restoration was completed. Among the ensemble's more acclaimed recordings is the 2011 Berlin Classics CD Triumph des Corno da Caccia, which features the VS with various soloists in works by J.S. Bach, Vivaldi, Telemann, and others.