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31 July 2006
La Petite Bande (Belgium) was founded in 1972 by Sigiswald Kuijken at the request of the record company Harmonia Mundi (Germany) in order to record Lully's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, under the direction of Gustav Leonhardt. The orchestra takes its name and constitution from Lully's own orchestra at the court of Louis XIV. All its members are internationally renowned specialists in the early music field.
Although originally La Petite Bande was not meant to become a permanent orchestra, the success of the recordings was such that they began to give concerts regularly. Having initially concentrated mainly on French music, the orchestra's repertoire has expanded over the years to include music by the Italian masters and that of Bach, Handel, Gluck, Haydn, Mozart and others.
The 18-part CD series 'Cantatas of J.S. Bach' (ACCENT) is complete since February 2014. Sigiswald Kuijken
applies the latest findings in Bach research: no choir, but rather a vocal quartet together with a minimal instrumental scoring. In this way, the fine musical texture of these cantatas can be much better (and more naturally) revealed.
La Petite Bande has recorded instrumental as well as vocal music, including operas and oratorios from the Baroque and Classical periods. La Petite Bande currently makes recordings for Accent, Challenge, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Denon, Seon/Virgin and Hyperion.
La Petite Bande has performed in a multitude of international festivals and concert series, in Europe, Japan, Australia, South America and China.
From 1997 to 2018, La Petite Bande was resident in the city of Leuven.
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.
Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.