Capricornus Consort Basel
Early Music Septet
• Founded 2006
Often appears with
The Capricornus Consort Basel has explored unusual Baroque repertory, much of it with a soloistic aspect. The group was founded in 2006 by Péter Barczi, who has remained its artistic director. He drew on a group of friends and colleagues with whom he had studied at the Schola Cantorum Basieliensis, a longstanding Swiss institution specializing in early music. The group, with a core membership of eight players including Barczi, performs in Switzerland and beyond, having gained invitations from a wide-ranging group of musical festivals.
The group is especially noted for its series of recordings on the Christophorus label, which began in 2013 with Süße Freundschaft, edles Band, a group of overtures and arias by the Frisian composer Philipp Heinrich Erlebach. That release set the pattern for later Capricornus releases in several respects: the music was virtually unknown and turned out to be of considerable interest, and it featured the collaboration of soprano Miriam Feuersinger. She went on to appear on two more Capricornus releases of music better known from history books than from concerts: one, Himmlische Stunden, seelige Zeiten, was devoted to the music of Christoph Graupner, and another put music of J.S. Bach into context by combining it with that of Graupner and Johann Kuhnau.
The group's 2017 recording of sinfonias, sonatas, and an oboe concerto by Franz Xaver Richter covered an early figure of the Central German Mannheim School who was highly esteemed in his time, but has been ignored even by groups specializing in music of the middle 18th century. The recording earned Christophorus a German Music Critics' Award (Preis der deutschen Schallplatenkritik). In 2018 the Capricornus Consort Basel released an album of Vivaldi recorder concertos and Bach preludes with Dutch recorder player Stefan Temmingh, including such unusual instruments as a psaltery in the armamentarium of the continuo.