Scherzi Musicali

early music ensemble

"Nicolas Achten and his Belgian collective share a virtue that cannot be taught, cannot be cultivated and is quickly lost: freshness."

(Diapason Magazine).

Founded more than fifteen years ago, the Belgian collective Scherzi Musicali has become a leading ensemble in the world of early music, renowned for its work on the repertoires of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which it explores with insatiable pleasure. Whether rediscovered or major repertoire, Scherzi Musicali aims to approach the music with the same objectivity, and each of the parameters of their interpretation is the subject of research and reflection, in quest of the most appropriate philological choices to approach each musical style.

The ensemble is made up of three to more than forty musicians and is centred around its founder and artistic director, Nicolas Achten (°1985), who sings while accompanying himself on the lute or theorbo, the harp or the harpsichord. He is surrounded by a group of young singers and instrumentalists with whom, concert after concert, he develops a sound identity based on basso continuo instruments and their interaction with the rhetoric of singing.

Scherzi Musicali performs throughout Europe: Festival de Wallonie, Festival van Vlaanderen, De Bijloke, De Singel, Concertgebouw Brugge, Amuz, Bozar, Automne Musical de Spa, Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht, Operadagen Rotterdam, Ferrara Musica, Amici Della Musica di Padova, the Venetian Festival of Baroque Music, Tage Alter Musik Herne, Musikfestspiele Potsdam, RheinVokal, Musikverein Wien, Kölner Philharmonie, Itinéraire Baroque en Périgord Vert, Embaroquement Immédiat, Festival d’Ambronay, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, Barokkfest Trondheim, La Fenice, etc.

Conscious of its educational mission, Scherzi Musicali regularly collaborates with the "Jeunesses Musicales" to introduce early music to young audiences.

Scherzi Musicali's discography includes thirteen recordings to date, eleven of which are world premieres: "L'Euridice" - Giulio Caccini (2008), "Dulcis Amor Iesu" - motets by Giovanni Felice Sances (2009), two volumes of "Petits Motets" - Joseph Hector Fiocco (2009 & 2017), "La Catena d'Adone" - Domenico Mazzocchi (2010), "How pleasant 'tis to Love" - songs by Henry Purcell (2012), "Il Pianto d'Orfeo" - Monteverdi, Caccini, Peri... (2013), "La Maddalena", oratorio by Antonio Bertali (2016). Their latest work is dedicated to the Lectures of the Church, "Dialoghi Amorosi" - Sances (2017), "O Penosa Lontananza" - unpublished cantatas by Alessandro Scarlatti (2018), "O Splendida Dies" - motets by Giovanni Paolo Colonna (2019), and "Motets" - Jean-Noël Hamal (2021). Their last opus is devoted to the “Leçons de ténèbres” by Charles-Joseph van Helmont (2023) and in 2024 the double album "Il Concerto Caccini" will be released. These albums have been published by Alpha, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi/Sony, Musique en Wallonie and Ricercar, for whom the ensemble now records exclusively.

Each of their recordings has met with real enthusiasm from the international press: Diapason d'or, Diapason découverte, Choc (Classica), Joker (Crescendo magazine), Octaves de la Musique, La Clef (ResMusica), Prelude Classics Award, 4 stars (Monde de la musique), Muse d'Or & Muse du mois (Muse baroque), Golden Ring (Classic Info), Outstanding (International Record Review), Pix Cæcilia, etc.

On the screen, Scherzi Musicali can be seen in the report "Monteverdi, aux sources de l'opéra" by Philippe Béziat (Arte, 2017), or in the film "À l'ombre des filles" by Étienne Comar (release in 2022).

Scherzi Musicali is supported by the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (Direction générale de la Culture, Service de la Musique) and is "artist in residence" at the Koninklijk Museum Voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen.