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Notes and Editorial Reviews
These ingeniously crafted concerti grossi are a true delight, their musical effectiveness in no way compromised by their origins. Listeners familiar with Corelli’s Op 5 will doubtless have fun spotting what Geminiani has done with them (which goes well beyond straightforward orchestration, while keeping the results utterly true to Corelli’s spirit); those who do not know the originals can just sit back and enjoy the music for what it is, which is to say bright, tuneful and invigorating." - Lindsay Kemp, GRAMOPHONE
(after Corelli, op. 5)
: No. 7 in d; No. 8 in e; No. 9 in A; No. 10 in F; No. 11 in E; No. 12 in d,
Cello Sonata in d,
op. 5, No. 2
Andrew Manze (vn), dir; David Watkin (vc); Academy of Ancient Music (period instruments)
HARMONIA MUNDI 2907262 (71:10)
This is a bargain introduction to a set that included all 12 of the concertos based on Corelli’s Violin Sonatas, op. 5. Robert Maxham reviewed the original issue with considerable enthusiasm in
24:1, an issue that also carried Maxham’s long and fascinating interview with director Andrew Manze. The purpose of the extracted disc is to accompany Harmonia Mundi’s 2007 catalog, a lavishly produced affair running to 166 pages.
That Geminiani should have turned Corelli’s seminal set of sonatas into concerti grossi was a tribute not only to the reverence with which he held his former master, but also an astute marketing move. Geminiani settled in England in 1714 and by taking a set of sonatas that had become a paradigm of Baroque instrumental writing—music known to every musician in the country—was also obviously making a pitch at the exponential growth of concert giving, both in London and in the provinces.
The six concertos that form the latter half of the collection are all in the
style, which is to say that unlike the
works that form the first half of the set they include dance movements. By and large, it is the quicker of these that come off best here, with playing of real vitality, a spring in its step, and, where appropriate, lightness of touch. I’m far less happy about slow movements, where, as so often with Manze, he seems disinclined to allow the music its natural flow, favoring rather interpretative gestures—rubato, changes of tempo, exaggerated cadential ritardandos, and a wide range of dynamics—designed to “milk” the music of every last ounce of expressivity. Still, judging from our original reviewer’s reaction, and the extravagant press blurbs on the back of the jewel box, I am obviously in a minority on this one. The original two-CD set, the only recording of all 12 concertos, is not included in the enclosed catalog, but at the time of writing it was still available through ArkivMusic.com. Meanwhile, the present disc serves as a handy introduction to those wishing to sample Geminiani’s imaginative and richly orchestrated adaptations.
FANFARE: Brian Robins
Works on This Recording
Average Customer Review: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
Prime listening. May 18, 2013
By Dr. Mitchell Gurk (Spencer, MA) See All My Reviews
"Great music. Expertly played. Now i must find the Corelli Op. 5 they are based on!!"
Gorgeous Geminiani January 4, 2013
By Paul Antilla (Carmichael, CA) See All My Reviews
"I heard one of these concerti on our local NPR station and ordered the cd right away. Just terrific as you would expect from this composer and these performers."