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Anyone, whether musicologist, performer, or simply music lover, who has even slightly immersed himself in Georg Muffat's work, eventually comes to the realisation that in today's music culture, Muffat has not been awarded the honorable recognition which he actually deserves. His merits in the fields of composition and education are generally acknowledged in musicological literature, but for the time being, he still remains in the shadows of his really »great« contemporaries such as Jean-Baptiste Lully, Arcangelo Corelli or Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber — to name a few with whom he personally had contact. This lack of recognition is perhaps attributed to the fact that very little of Muffat's work has been preserved and from that almost exclusively instrumental music. The fact that the composer never once in his entire life achieved employment in any of the large European music centers, cannot be the reason for this — other musicians working under similar conditions were able to obtain fame and acclaim for their work. Could it be that Muffat's style is so difficult to categorize? His compositions and related performance practice are comprised of at least three different styles and traditions. This was by no means a coincidence, rather conversely it represented the central point of Muffat's personal aesthetic goal. This, along with the fact that he was one of the first who so emphatically and continually strived for and masterfully realized this goal, is category as the great composers.
Peter Van Heyghen
The origin of the LES MUFFATTI ensemble goes back to the year 1996 when a dozen students from the conservatory in Brussels gathered together to explore the Baroque repertoire for string orchestras. In 2003 this group of students decided to form, out of the ensemble, a professional Baroque orchestra under the direction of a permanent conductor. The choice went to Peter Van Heyghen, an internationally renowned specialist in Renaissance and Baroque music performance practice. Under his direction the new orchestra made its opening debut in Brussels in June, 2004. Les Muffatti soon won the respect of many organizers and within its first year was invited to perform at renowned festivals in Amsterdam, Bruges, Utrecht and Maastricht as well as to give a number of different concerts in Karlsruhe, Vila Real and Brussels.
The name, Les Muffatti, is directly connected with the ensemble's main repertoire as well as its principles of historic interpretation. The works of the cosmopolitan Georg Muffat play an integral part of the program. This composer was an important historical figure in orchestral development; he was also one of the first who discussed the important differences between the national styles in music around 1700 and the performance practices related to them. For this reason, the main focus of Les Muffatti lies with the numerous compositions designed for the string orchestra in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Furthermore, for the next several years, the ensemble plans to concentrate on the Italian repertoire of oratorios, serenades and intermezzi from the same period.
Peter Van Heyghen, direction
Catherine Meeùs, Benedicte Verbeek, Sandrine Dupé, Marcin Lasia, Marie Haag, Laurent Hulsbosch, violins
Wendy Ruymen, Julie Vermeulen, violas
Marian Minnen, Corentin Dellicour, violoncellos
Benoît Vanden Bemden, double bass
Kris Verhelst, harpsichord
Bart Jacobs, organ
Bernard Zonderman, guitar and theorbo
PETER VAN HEYGHEN studied the recorder and singing at the conservatory in Gent. He plays concerts worldwide as a soloist with his chamber music ensemble, More Maiorum, with the recorder consort Mezzaluna, as well as with vocal ensembles such as Capilla Flamenca and Weser-Renaissance. Along with his position as conductor forLes Muffatti he currently directs the vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis in collaboration with Stratton Bull, and furthermore works as a publicist and a lecturer. He teaches the recorder and historical performance practice at the conservatory in The Hague and regularly gives master classes and workshops in Europe and the United States of America.