Born: 1985 in Milan
Genre: Concerto, Chamber Music
Il Giardino Armonico is an Italian period instrument chamber ensemble specializing in vigorous and earthy performances of music from the Italian Baroque. Founded in 1985 in Milan, the group has a flexible membership with as few as three and as many as 30 players. Since 1989, the ensemble has been conducted by flutist Giovanni Antonini. The group has toured worldwide and developed an extensive discography, mostly on Teldec Classics. The group's recordings of concerti by Vivaldi have garnered awards such as the Diapason d'Or, Choc de la Musique, the Grand Prix des Discophiles, and the Gramophone Award. The Grammy award-winning Vivaldi Album (1999) on Decca featured Cecilia Bartoli singing previously unrecorded and mostly unperformed opera arias by Vivaldi. The group has performed in both concert and staged productions of many operas and oratorios from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including Pergolesi's La serva padrona; Handel's Agrippina, La resurrezione, and Il trionfo del tempo del disinganno; and Hasse's I pellegrini al sepolcro di nostro signore. In 1993, the group performed Claudio Monteverdi's L'Orfeo in Milan to mark the 350th anniversary of the composer's birth. It regularly performs and records with a wide variety of soloists, including Cecilia Bartoli, Katia and Marielle Labeque, Eva Mei, Sumi Jo, Sara Mingardo, Lynne Dawson, Christoph Pregardien, Veronique Gens, Viktoria Mullova, and Giuliano Carmignola. Il Giardino Armonico's concerts and discography are notable for their inclusion of rarely performed works by composers such as Rossi, Riccio, Spadi, and Conti, alongside works such as Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. Even in the most familiar repertoire, the ensemble distinguishes itself by its lusty and energetic readings, replete with glissandos and imaginative ornamentation.
- Robert Adelson (All Music Guide)