A New Record Label is born


In an era of vanishing record shops and digital downloads, the Academy of Ancient Music announces the launch of its own record label: AAM Records.

Since its foundation in 1973 the AAM has released over 300 CDs, predominantly on the Decca and Harmonia Mundi labels. Establishing its own flagship label AAM Records, will enable the AAM to take full control of its future recording catalogue, producing a range of recordings which match the artistic plans and development of the orchestra and reflect its commitment to historically-informed performances of baroque and classical music.

Founded in 1973 by Christopher Hogwood, the AAM has since performed live around the world. Though international in its outlook, the AAM is based in the UK in London and Cambridge, where it has a regular season and promotes some of its most ambitious and innovative music-making. In 2006 Richard Egarr succeeded the orchestra’s founder Christopher Hogwood as Music Director. Today, The AAM is an Associate Ensemble at London’s Barbican Centre and is also Orchestra-in-Residence at the University of Cambridge. Renowned for the quality of its musicianship and its dedication to fresh, historically-informed and engaged performances of baroque and classical music, the orchestra has won Grammy, Brit, Edison, MIDEM and Gramophone Awards.

In its first year 2 discs will be released under the label. Birth of the symphony: Handel to Haydn, (AAM 001,released in October 2013) exploring the early development of the symphony, JS Bach St John Passion (1724 version) (AAM 002, released in February 2014). Planned releases for the second year are  JS Bach Orchestral Suites (AAM 003, released in October 2014) and JS Bach St Matthew Passion (1727 version), (AAM 004, released February 2015).

These first four recordings are directed by AAM Music Director Richard Egarr, and with him, the AAM will work with a range of guest directors and soloists who include Sarah Connolly and James Gilchrist. Future plans include further major choral works and orchestral repertoire as well as a range of smaller-scale recordings. As part of AAM Records, the orchestra will develop a range of supplementary materials, from specially-commissioned liner notes to films and podcasts, giving listeners deeper insights into the music. AAM Records will also allow the AAM to expand its presence in key strategic territories worldwide, including developing its work in the Far East, America and Australia, and cementing its presence in Europe and the UK.

With backing from Decca and the L’Oiseau Lyre label the AAM’s early recordings created an unrivalled catalogue of baroque and classical music recorded on period instruments. Highlights included the Mozart symphonies – the first complete cycle on period instruments; a Brit-award winning recording of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons; Handel operas starring Dame Joan Sutherland, Dame Emma Kirkby and Cecilia Bartoli; and Mozart piano concertos with Robert Levin. Under Richard Egarr, the AAM has recorded with Harmonia Mundi and flagship releases have included a complete cycle of Handel’s instrumental music – winning Gramophone, MIDEM and Edison Awards — and the world-premiere recording of music by Christopher Gibbons. The AAM also appears with the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge on EMI and, latterly, on the Choir’s own label.

Michael Garvey, Chief Executive of the AAM, commented,

“Over the past decade the AAM has developed an extensive touring schedule, with performances throughout every continent except Antarctica. Now, with the launch of AAM Records, lovers of baroque and classical music throughout the world will be able to enjoy our music-making whenever and wherever they like. Our recordings will reflect the AAM’s distinctive period-instrument sound and our latest artistic ambitions, bringing the AAM’s distinguished recording history up to date. With our range of supplementary materials, including a variety of online digital content, we hope to give audiences a fresh insight into the music at the heart of our work.”

Richard Egarr, AAM Music Director, commented,

“I am so excited about AAM Records. There are many things I would love to record with the AAM and having our own label will allow us the freedom to explore a wide range of repertoire over the coming years. Being in-house offers us the benefit of being able to take the utmost care and to attain the highest possible standards in both sound and performance. I am hugely proud of our new baby.” 

AAM Records, track listings and notes

Birth of the symphony: Handel to Haydn

AAM001 — released October 2013

Handel Sinfonia from Saul

Richter Grand simphonie No.7 in C major

Stamitz Sinfonia a 4 in D major

Mozart Symphony No.1 in E flat major

Haydn Symphony No.49 in F minor ‘La passione’ (Richard Egarr conductor)

Richard Egarr director & harpsichord

The 18th century saw an explosion of symphonies (over 18,000 composed in just 60 years, by one estimate), and ‘Birth of the Symphony’ surveys some of the diverse works which were central to the development of the genre as we know it today. The recording begins with Handel’s Sinfonia from Saul, an example of the oratorio sinfonia which supplied models for the early symphony’s scoring. Works from the cutting-edge Mannheim orchestra by Stamitz and Richter demonstrate the new sonic possibilities of the form, with which Mozart also engages in his very first attempt at the genre. The disc closes with a fine example of a mature classical symphony, Haydn’s ‘La passione’.


JS Bach St John Passion (1724 version)

AAM002 — released February 2014

James Gilchrist Evangelist

Matthew Rose Christ

Ashley Riches Pilate

Elizabeth Watts soprano

Sarah Connolly mezzo-soprano

Andrew Kennedy tenor

Christopher Purves bass

Choir of the AAM

Richard Egarr director & harpsichord

Recorded after a sold-out Barbican performance in 2013, this disc offers a rare chance to hear Bach’s St John Passion in the original 1724 version. This version, scored for a small orchestra and containing less elaborate melodic writing than later revisions, gives an intimacy to this most impassioned and dramatic account of the Passion story. Evangelist James Gilchrist leads a cast including Sarah Connolly and Matthew Rose. This recording was made possible through the participation of AAM supporters worldwide, who gave from £10 each towards a crowdfunding campaign to make up the final £5,000 needed for the recording to happen – with every donation matched by the Arts Council.


JS Bach Orchestral Suites

AAM003 — released October 2014

Richard Egarr director & harpsichord

JS Bach’s Orchestral Suites are a series of grand and graceful dances, paying homage to the French baroque style. Richard Egarr’s recordings of Bach – both with the AAM and as a soloist – have been highly acclaimed, and this recording features one-to-a-part performances with the principals of the AAM. Following AAM and Richard Egarr’s 2009 recording of the Brandenburg Concertos, the Orchestral Suites are at French baroque pitch, revealing new textures and sonorities in these much-loved works.


JS Bach St Matthew Passion (1727 version)

AAM004 — released February 2015

James Gilchrist Evangelist

Choir of the AAM

Richard Egarr director & harpsichord

The AAM continues its cycle of JS Bach’s major vocal works with the St Matthew Passion, one of the most profound and inspirational spiritual journeys in all art. This recording will feature the original 1727 version of the work, with Richard Egarr directing the AAM and Choir of the AAM and James Gilchrist returning as Evangelist.




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