This recording presents music by two Scarlattis: Alessandro (1660-1725), composer of innumerable vocal and chamber works, and his son Domenico (1685-1757), famous mostly for his several hundred keyboard sonatas. Alessandro is represented by six Concerti Grossi, a Sonata, and a Sinfonia; Domenico by three Sinfonias. All feature solo instruments: harp, recorder, and most prominently, violins and continuo cello.
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin perform a selection of Telemann's Concerti per molti stromenti - works that feature many unusual and wonderful instrumental combination, and an amazing variety of styles. If you ever wondered where Bach got the idea for the Brandenburg Concertos, look no further than the concertos of Telemann.
Handel's unrivaled masterpieces of the concerto grosso form and style–his Twelve Grand Concertos, in seven parts, for four violins, a tenor, a violoncello, with a thorough-bass for the harpsichord–here receive their finest recording to date, with performances that leave all others–both period- and modern-instrument versions–in their wake. For obvious reasons these 12 concertos have remained popular since their publication in 1740: the irresistibly congenial tunes and engaging rhythms, the free-spirited fugues, endearing Largos and Adagios, and overall vivacious writing for all instruments elicits correspondingly high-spirited responses from anyone within earshot of these unrelentingly entertaining works.
The Concerto Grosso is a popular Baroque form, in which two instrumental groups complete against each other: a small group of soloists and the tutti of the orchestral group. It is the forerunner of the solo concerto form, which features only one solo instrument. This set present the complete Concerti Grossi by Pietro Antonio Locatelli, modelled on the popular concerti grossi of his teacher Corelli. The writing as might be expected from Locatelli the devil violinist, is highly virtuosic and brilliant, inventive in harmony and counterpoint, written to impress and entertain.
Released in 1995, this Harmonia Mundi CD of five of Handel's Concerti grossi, Op. 6, is an absolute bargain and highly recommended to any lover of great music. Considering William Christie and Les Arts Florissants are among the most brilliant interpreters of Handel, that these gorgeous works afforded them an ideal platform for their talents, and that Harmonia Mundi provided the best possible engineering to capture their glorious sound, this album is an embarrassment of riches not to be missed.
…I Solisti Italiani continues, both spiritually and sonically, where the original Virtuosi di Roma left off, with creamy, expert, middle-of-the-road performances of Baroque and Classical period music, and occasional 20th-century pieces as well. The ensemble is small - only 12 players, without conductor - but the sound is full and caloric, the playing dapper and disciplined.
…This release joins the elite of great recordings, performances that will likely to be enjoyed for as long as music endures. (…) If you think Vivaldi a bore, try this and experience conversion.
The popular Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment presents a fantastic and exuberantly played selection of Vivaldi. Named a ‘Choice' recording by Gramophone upon release, the OAE joyfully celebrate some of Vivaldi's finest instrumental writing. The soloists are drawn from within the distinguished ranks of the OAE including Anthony Robson (oboe), Andrew Clark (horn), Roger Montgomery (horn), David Watkin (cello), Lisa Beznosiuk (flute), Elizabeth Kenny (lute) and Catherine Mackintosh (viola). The concertos assembled on this disc afford the listener a glimpse of Vivaldi's originality, not only as a sensitive colourist and master of form, but also as a felicitous melodist whose harmonies and phraseology are charged with heady atmosphere. The dancing rhythms and distinctive characters of these concerti together with the variety of instrumental combinations and sparkling performances make this a fresh and constantly engaging listen.
Handel's Concerti Grossi opus 6 must surely be ranked as some of the greatest orchestral music ever composed. Probably penned in or around 1739, the pieces were developed to serve as orchestral "interludes" for other operatic or oratorio performances. To listen to them, however, is to tempt us not believe that this could possibly be the case: the Concerti Grossi opus 6 works are without doubt among the pinnacle of Baroque composition. After listening to these, we are left with a distinct sadness that Handel did not turn his attention more to this genre, as his masterful treatment in the opus 6 shows us his true genius.