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Antonio Lolli: Complete Violin Concertos / Fanfone, Et Al


Release Date: 11/27/2007 
Label:  Dynamic   Catalog #: 527   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonio Lolli
Performer:  Luca Fanfoni
Conductor:  Luca Fanfoni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reale Concerto
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



LOLLI Violin Concertos: No. 1 in E?; No. 2 in C; No. 3 in A; No. 4 in B?; No. 5 in E; No. 6 in D; No. 7 in G; No. 8 in D; No. 9 in C; in E? (attr. Lolli) Luca Fanfoni (vn, cond); Reale Concerto DYNAMIC 527 (3 CDs: 176:20)


Antonio Lolli’s reputation as a violinist, and perhaps a charlatan, has preceded the emergence of his concertos on CD. About a generation and a half younger than Pietro Locatelli, Lolli won his reputation for virtuosity by what his compositions reveal must have Read more been a sparkling if superficial technical brilliance, though he didn’t enshrine the tricks of his trade in music as striking as did Locatelli or, later, Paganini. Danilo Prefumo’s notes cite William S. Newman’s description of Lolli’s sonatas, but Newman mentioned Lolli 12 times outside the roughly three pages he devoted to the composer in his extensive study, The Sonata in the Classic Era . In fact, Newman cites an extended passage (to which Prefumo alludes) by Giovanni Battista Rangoni, published in Livorno in 1790, that compares Lolli’s technically more advanced—and, in fact, overall more modern—sonatas very unfavorably to the earlier works (of which some of the concertos may be examples), in the more “rational” styles of composers like Pietro Nardini (Newman describes Lolli’s Six Sonatas, op. 1, as being generally cast in Nardini’s mold) and Gaetano Pugnani. Newman describes the later Sonatas, op. 3, and, presumably the sonatas for two violins (without bass) as “overrun” with difficult double-stops, flights into the strings’ upper reaches, and devices like scordatura—all of which might have characterized Paganini’s later compositions. Newman also points out the connection between Lolli and the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, to whom Lolli dedicated works, as well as connections with Isidore Bertheaume, who composed in Lolli’s style, with Lolli’s pupil, Michel Woldemar, who, from all accounts, seems to have been cast in Lolli’s highly individual mold, and with Ivan Khandochkine, who heard Lolli in St. Petersburg (the source of the Russian melodies that Newman mentions in Lolli’s op. 3?).


The concertos make demands that seem tonally and technically less idiomatic than those of Locatelli (including the capriccios) or even Paganini, in whose works the difficulties always seem to sound grateful though terrifying. The fast movements overflow with busy energy, while the slow ones sing simply and, sometimes, affectingly. Luca Fanfoni plays the difficult passagework and makes thematic statements with a cocky, hissing, and spitting confidence that recalls that of Ruggiero Ricci (Fanfoni actually studied with the less aggressively daredevilish Salvatore Accardo). The first movements, like the Allegretto of the Fourth Concerto, generally strut along, perhaps a bit stiffly and often with only what seems a modicum of melodic ideas, at moderate tempos (they’re often marked, like this one, Allegretto, or even Andante), but they offer a framework for the violin’s ostentatious, cavorting, passagework. That passagework, in these movements, as well as in the finales, rockets up via arpeggios into the stratosphere (and if Fanfoni seems a bit insecure at times in these—or in passages in double-stops—listeners may note that Locatelli and even Paganini often anchored their flights more securely than these seem to have been). Fanfoni has provided simple, but tasteful and appropriate, cadenzas (except for the one in the finale of the Ninth Concerto, which sounds like Milstein’s Paganiniana , drawing on the 14th Caprice). The slow movements often move very steadily (sometimes, as in the slow movement of the Fifth Concerto and the affecting one of the Seventh, mercifully relaxing the relentless forward motion) over pulsating accompaniments that hardly allow for reflective respite, though at times the violin either engages in duets with, or gives way to, other instruments in chamber-music fashion. In fact, that chamber ambiance pervades the works, and not only, it seems, because of Reale Concerto’s small forces (five violins besides the soloist, one viola, one cello, one bass, French guitar, pairs of oboes and horns) employed by the later (Eighth and Ninth) concertos and the possibly spurious one. The Seventh Concerto introduces slightly more colorful string-writing, which the Eighth, with its two horns and oboes and the Ninth (like the extra concerto), with two horns, carry only a small step forward. But the increasingly Mozart-like (Viennese) figuration from the Seventh Concerto’s finale on looks even farther forward. Even Danilo Prefumo doubts the authenticity of the Concerto in E? Major, which he judges to give evidence of a palpably different style.


Lolli has emerged from the protective anonymity that academic footnotes can confer as a precursor of Paganini, though not as a composer foreshadowing Paganini’s musical imagination (or even mimicking Locatelli’s). Whether or not he deserves to have the lights turned brighter, it should be rewarding for violinists and students of the period to hear and have these dedicated performances in such clear and detailed recorded sound (from the Boito Conservatory and the Church of San Silvestro in Parma), played during April and July 2006 (the notes mention that Fanfoni performed the pieces on two violins, one a modern one by Ansaldo Poggi from 1971 and the other, an instrument from 1713 by Francesco Gobetti—one instrument per session?). Strongly recommended to the curious.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1. Concertos (2) for Violin, Op. 2 by Antonio Lolli
Performer:  Luca Fanfoni (Violin)
Conductor:  Luca Fanfoni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reale Concerto
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1764 
2. Concertos (2) for Violin, Op. 4 by Antonio Lolli
Performer:  Luca Fanfoni (Violin)
Conductor:  Luca Fanfoni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reale Concerto
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1766 
3. Concertos (2) for Violin, Op. 5 by Antonio Lolli
Performer:  Luca Fanfoni (Violin)
Conductor:  Luca Fanfoni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reale Concerto
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1768 
4. Concerto for Violin no 7 in G major by Antonio Lolli
Performer:  Luca Fanfoni (Violin)
Conductor:  Luca Fanfoni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reale Concerto
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1775 
5. Concerto for Violin no 8 in C major by Antonio Lolli
Performer:  Luca Fanfoni (Violin)
Conductor:  Luca Fanfoni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reale Concerto
6. Concerto for Violin in E flat major by Antonio Lolli
Performer:  Luca Fanfoni (Violin)
Conductor:  Luca Fanfoni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reale Concerto
7. Concerto for Violin in C major by Antonio Lolli
Performer:  Luca Fanfoni (Violin)
Conductor:  Luca Fanfoni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Reale Concerto
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Italy 

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