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Locatelli Edition Vol 2 - Violin Sonatas / Igor Ruhadze, Ensemble Violini Capriciossi


Release Date: 01/29/2013 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 94423   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Pietro Antonio Locatelli
Performer:  Igor Ruhadze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Violini Capricciosi
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



LOCATELLI 12 Violin Sonatas, Op. 6. 6 Violin Sonatas , Op. 8 Igor Ruhadze (vn, cond); Ens Violini Capricciosi (period instruments) BRILLIANT 94423 (5 CDs: 294:44)


In Fanfare 36:3, I strongly recommended The Ensemble Violini Capricciosi’s first volume of the works for Pietro Locatelli, on Brilliant 94376, comprising the composer’s Trio Sonatas from opp. 5 and 8. The Read more second volume of the series presents the entire set of violin sonatas, op. 6, and the solo-sonata portion of op. 8. It’s obvious from the opening of the first sonata (op. 6/1) that the textures of these solo sonatas, thickened with double-stops, almost mimic those of the trio sonata (violinist Igor Ruhadze makes the effect seem even more uncanny in the opening of op. 6/8). (My review copy hiccupped very briefly at 1:27 of op. 6/1:I.) They’re advanced in other ways, as well; Vaughan Schlepp, the group’s harpsichordist, notes in the booklet all the various techniques Locatelli explored in these works, including up- and down-bow staccatos and passages at what must have been the top—or over the top—of the fingerboard. Of course, many of these innovations will be familiar to those who know the 12 concertos, op. 3 and their Capricci (the whole being subtitled L’Arte del violino ). The sonatas of op. 6 fall mostly into three movements—with op. 6/6 and op. 6/7 in four and op. 6/12 in four with an appended capriccio that climbs for extended stays into the highest positions (violinists will find that cadenza bound with those for the concertos of op. 3 in Ricordi’s edition). The sonatas’ general pattern, slow-fast-variations, allots the greatest amount of time to the last movement, which allows the violinist to empty for his audience a huge bag of tricks each time out (sometimes seeming overwhelmingly brilliant, as in the finale of op. 6/3 or, perhaps especially, op. 6/10—William S. Newman cited a passage from that movement to illustrate Locatelli’s penchant for display). But the sonatas also display an affecting chromaticism (as in the last movement of op. 6/1), a darker atmosphere, even in a major-key movement (as in the opening of op. 6/2), a sensitive style (consider the suave variation in the upper registers—Schlepp suggests that Locatelli included one in each set of variations), and jazzy syncopation (as in the Allegro from op. 6/2 or the finale of op. 6/12) that may surprise those who have come to view Locatelli as a sort of Woldemar-like violinistic charlatan, devoid of musical substance (Schlepp describes the joint playing of Locatelli and Jean-Marie Leclair in which the former dazzled, and the latter moved, their audience). A melodic turn of phrase occasionally pays tribute to Arcangelo Corelli (as in the Allegro of op. 6/3 or in the theme of the variations in the Andante of op. 6/8), which bears a strong resemblance that seems unlikely to be coincidental to the famous theme that Giuseppe Tartini borrowed for his variations, L’Arte del arco , or even in the opening Adagio of op. 6/11 which nearly paraphrases one of the sonatas from Corelli’s op. 5, even if Locatelli didn’t study with him. Igor Ruhadze, with the ensemble, which includes cellist Mark Dupere as well as Schlepp, draws a bright, full-bodied tone from his 1706 David Tecchler violin; he punches out the articulations at times with an impudence that should entertain more than it offends. The sonata, op. 6/5, contains the first variations-finale with an Allegro theme. The ensemble casts an especially solemn spell over the opening movement (of four) of op. 6/7, a Largo of particularly noble bearing, which leads to a Grave of particularly strong pathos (including a weeping cadenza). At times, as in the opening of the sonata, op. 6/12, the music looks forward to the style of Giuseppe Tartini, another Corelli admirer. And then the Capriccio Prova dell’intonazione dispels the Corellian reverie and brings op. 6 to a conclusion. Here’s an ascent into the empyrean very similar in layout to the one Antonio Vivaldi made in his cadenza for the Concerto for the Feast of the Tongue of St. Anthony, RV 212a, and very similar in figures to Locatelli’s own Harmonic Labyrinth . In recommending Locatelli’s works for study though not for display, it’s hard to imagine that Karl von Dittersdorf really believed these difficulties had been surpassed in his time.


The program continues with a brief Sonata in G Minor, not assigned an opus number in the booklet. This gives way to the sonatas of op. 8. The first opens (as does op. 8/2) with a movement that, once again, sounds like a paraphrase of one of Corelli’s stately slow movements. That’s followed by two Allegro s, the first of which, again, recalls Corelli (of the six sonatas of op. 8, only two, op. 8/4 and op. 8/5, comprise four movements), the three-movement pieces following the pattern slow-fast-fast. The ensemble commands attention in the opening of op. 8/3 (labeled op. 6/11 on the cardboard jacket but correctly identified on the back of the box). Throughout the set, the partnership between the violin and the continuo instruments remains close, whatever the particular requirements of each sonata; in the Allegro of op. 8/4, they engage in especially sparkling conversation, which they continue, though with a wholesale change in mood in the more contemplative Vivace that follows. The opening of op. 8/5 recalls a very similar movement in Tartini’s Sonata, Didone abbandonata . In general, these sonatas abound in contrasts: the almost Corellian Adagio of op. 8/6 following hard on the heels of the arpeggiated finale of op. 8/5, reminiscent of the last movement of Francesco Maria Veracini’s sonata, op. 1/7; the entire ensemble revels in these contrasts, keeping the music fresh even for those listeners who might choose to go through the whole collection seriatim.


Even for those who don’t want to invest the time in continuous listening to the two sets of sonatas, Brilliant’s collection should prove a most enjoyable, most entertaining, and, at times, moving experience that belies Dr. Charles Burney’s judgment, in his 18th-century History , of Locatelli as “a voluminous composer of Music that excites more surprise than pleasure.” Strongly recommended, therefore, across the board.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonatas da camera (12) for Violin and Basso Continuo, Op. 6 by Pietro Antonio Locatelli
Performer:  Igor Ruhadze (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Violini Capricciosi
Period: Baroque 
2. Sonata in G minor by Pietro Antonio Locatelli
Performer:  Igor Ruhadze (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Violini Capricciosi
Period: Baroque 
3. Sonatas (10) for Violin and Basso Continuo, Op. 8: no 6 in Eb Major by Pietro Antonio Locatelli
Performer:  Igor Ruhadze (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Violini Capricciosi
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744/1752; Amsterdam, Netherlan 
4. Sonatas (10) for Violin and Basso Continuo, Op. 8: no 5 in G Major by Pietro Antonio Locatelli
Performer:  Igor Ruhadze (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Violini Capricciosi
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744/1752; Amsterdam, Netherlan 
5. Sonatas (10) for Violin and Basso Continuo, Op. 8: no 4 in C Major by Pietro Antonio Locatelli
Performer:  Igor Ruhadze (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Violini Capricciosi
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744/1752; Amsterdam, Netherlan 
6. Sonatas (10) for Violin and Basso Continuo, Op. 8: no 3 in G Minor by Pietro Antonio Locatelli
Performer:  Igor Ruhadze (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Violini Capricciosi
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744/1752; Amsterdam, Netherlan 
7. Sonatas (10) for Violin and Basso Continuo, Op. 8: no 2 in D Major by Pietro Antonio Locatelli
Performer:  Igor Ruhadze (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Violini Capricciosi
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744/1752; Amsterdam, Netherlan 
8. Sonatas (10) for Violin and Basso Continuo, Op. 8: no 1 in F major by Pietro Antonio Locatelli
Performer:  Igor Ruhadze (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Violini Capricciosi
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744/1752; Amsterdam, Netherlan 

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