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.
This was William Christie's last recording for Harmonia Mundi, and it really is a pity that he only recorded five out of a total of twelve concertos, for these are superb performances in every respect. If you're looking for an excellent selection on one disc from Handel's Op. 6, then you really can't do better. On the other hand, I can't imagine anyone not wanting the whole set, and Andrew Manze and the Academy of Ancient Music, also on Harmonia Mundi, squeeze them all onto just two discs in performances every bit as fine as these. It's your call. –David Hurwitz
Handel’s two sets of concerti grossi have been mainstays of the Baroque orchestral repertoire for many years and therefore have been embraced by ensembles around the world. They are among the few remaining examples of concertos composed early in his career. The dozen concertos of Handel’s op. 6 have eclipsed the half-dozen of op. 3 in popularity. The purpose of the set was twofold: to serve as interval music in his operas and oratorios, and—via their publication—to ensure dissemination to the various concerto societies and venues of London. Handel solicits comparison to the Corellian model by titling the set Twelve Grand Concertos and by making use of a concertino of two violins, cello, and continuo, a combination that was extremely popular at the time.
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.
I Solisti Italiani is a chamber string orchestra consisting of about 12 players, known particularly for their spirited readings of works from the Baroque and Classical periods. They have performed and recorded much Vivaldi over the years and have devoted nearly as much effort to the works of Handel, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Rossini…
Long considered one of the pinnacle geniuses of Western music, Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) was one of the most influential Baroque composers. His output is entirely instrumental, published in a mere six opus numbers (each containing twelve pieces). Along with Vivaldi, Corelli has maintained an easy eminence among Italian Baroque instrumental composers. His Concerti Grossi have continued to be immensely popular.
Although Corelli was not the inventor of the Concerto Grosso principle, it was he who proved the potentialities of the form, popularized it, and wrote the first great music for it. Through his efforts, it achieved the same pre-eminent place in the baroque period of musical history that the symphony did in the classical period. Without Corelli's successful models, it would have been impossible for Vivaldi, Handel, and Bach to have given us their Concerto Grosso masterpieces.
The Concerto Grosso form is built on the principle of contrasting two differently sized instrumental groups. In Corelli's, the smaller group consists of two violins and a cello, and the larger of a string orchestra. Dynamic markings in all the music of this period were based on the terrace principle; crescendo and diminuendi are unknown, contrasts between forte and piano and between the large and small string groups constituting the dynamic variety of the scores. See more