As a genre, the concerto grosso is virtually unique in its ability to capture the verve and elegance of baroque music. Its most outstanding exponent was Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), whose principal concerti grossi are brought together in the present release. Recorded in the magnificent antique Basilica di San Marco in Rome, whose Baroque style dates back to the restorations of the 17th and 18th centuries, this DVD recreates a wonderful historical atmosphere. Played by I Solisti Veneti under their founder and director Claudio Scimone, this DVD also provides for an unforgettable musical experience thanks to the performers’ eminence in this repertory. Having won numerous awards including a Grammy Award and a Grand Prix du Disque, the ensemble and its conductor are excellent authorities in the field of historically authentic performance practice. Their concert performances are entertaining events for their audiences and on this DVD, we can enjoy them with various colourful baroque concertos and sonatas for violin and for trumpet – indulging in the music’s dramatic contrasts.
The release of Concerti Grossi Opus 6 marks the beginning of Linn and The Avison Ensemble’s commitment to record Corelli’s complete chamber music. Arcangelo Corelli was one of the shining geniuses of the baroque era and his twelve Concerti Grossi are considered among the very best of Italian baroque output. The twelve Concerti Grossi demonstrate an austere grandeur and a never-ending invention which is never routine.
This is one of the first classical CDs I bought, well before I new the difference between period and modern instruments, etc. Contrary to Stan Vernnoy's review two doors down, I beleive you should like the music for what it is, not the instruments it is played upon. Also, to my ears, Corelli's music sounds much better on the period instruments. The modern instruments sound too sweet and glossy to me. Not to say that period instruments would work for, say a Rachmaninov symphony! It'a all a matter of preference.
The re-master of a 1974 Decca Record recording is excellent in execution and style. Neveille Marriner and St. Martin-in-the-Fields perform in their typical excellent manner.
However, the recording over emphasize the soloist. I find this unfortunate, since the play between the opposing instruments is a little lost.
Harmonia Mundi's Geminiani: Concerti Grossi VII-XII (after Corelli, Op. 5) is a single disc excerpted from a larger set issued in 1999 including all of Geminiani's concerti based on models of Corelli. That set was, and is, something of an expensive proposition, but certainly a first-class choice for the music of Geminiani, for the way the Academy of Ancient Music sounds under the direction of Andrew Manze and as representative of late English Baroque music as a whole. This disc is a single-disc condensation drawn from the earlier set that comes, as an added bonus, with a thick catalog of Harmonia Mundi's active releases, and the asking price is modest.
The concerto grosso form was popularized by Corelli, and Locatelli’s Op 1 is a marvellous example of the genre: its solid craftsmanship, imaginative textures and exciting virtuosity bringing it into the top rank. These works are ravishingly performed here by The Raglan Baroque Players, Nicholas Kraemer and soloist Elizabeth Wallfisch.
I Solisti Veneti is one of the first rank of small Italian chamber orchestras with modern instruments. Founded in Padua in 1959 by Claudio Scimone, it has made a reputation especially with Italian Baroque music, recording many works by Antonio Vivaldi, Tomaso Albinoni, Francesco Geminiani, Benedetto Marcello and Giuseppe Tartini. Giuliano Carmignola and Piero Toso were two of the soloists in the ensemble. The group has made over 300 recordings, many on the Erato record label. A number of these were first-ever recordings of works of Vivaldi, Albinoni and Rossini.
The first six sonatas, or the sonate da chiesa as they are commonly referred to, were published in Geminiani’s arrangements in 1726 and met with immediate success. Not only were the sonorities amplified by the instrumental expansion, but Corelli’s difficult-to-play sonatas were now within reach of violinists with more modest abilities. The skill with which Geminiani embellished Corelli’s music while remaining true to Corelli is immediately evident when Corelli and Geminiani are played back-to-back. It is roughly the aural equivalent of a black and white photo now viewed in color. Geminiani’s arrangements of the second set of six sonatas, the sonate da camera, were soon completed but did not meet with the same immediate popularity. The last sonata/concerto, No. 12 in D Minor, the Follia, is structurally different from the others. It is a theme with 25 variations and has taken on a life of its own separate from the other 11 concertos.
The Water Music is divided into three suites which are clearly differentiated by their tonality and instrumentation. The pieces with the lighter, more delicate instrumentation would certainly have been played indoors while the pieces with wind demanded double forces of woodwind and made their fullest effect in the open air. Handel’s other great al fresco work, the Music for the Royal Fireworks, was composed to commemorate the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. Opus 3 is, in its splendid and resourceful way, music of forceful originality and bold contours, and is derived from many varied sources - opera, anthem, Passion, even Corelli.