Notes and Editorial Reviews
op. 4, “6 Introduttioni Teatrali and 6 Concertos”
Elizabeth Wallfisch (vn); dir; Raglan Baroque Players (period instruments)
HYPERION 22064 (2 CDs: 98:28)
Hyperion’s reissue in its “Dyad” series of Locatelli’s op. 4, consisting of six striking
and six concerti grossi, makes available again the compilation recorded in May and June 1996 and originally issued as 6704. If Locatelli’s
style="font-style:italic">L’Arte del Violino
, op. 3, raised the level of violin-playing precipitously to heights upon which Paganini could later build, the works collected in op. 4 speak a similarly bold musical (if not similarly advanced technical) language that presages a later era. Fulvia Morabito’s notes, provided in 1997 for the first release, specify the concerto-grosso texture of both included sets; but, except in a very few instances, such as the Prestos from the Fourth and Sixth Introductions and a few interjected solos like the one in the central movement of the Fifth (and that same Presto from the Sixth), the soloists don’t set themselves off ostentatiously from the ripieno. Each of these pieces (all cast in major keys: D, F, B?, G, D, and C) falls into three brief movements: a bracing first, usually announced by bold chordal motives; an elegant, moderately paced second; and a sprightly third. Wallfisch and the ensemble communicate all the effervescent—and stirring—rhythmic verve of these short pieces, and their period-influenced textures crunch and crackle with static electricity; the recorded sound transmits what seems to be a great deal of this energy.
The ensuing gregarious concertos share the sparkling
, but here the solo and ripieno parts seem to bounce off each other percussively in the manner of so many billiard balls. The solos also play a more important part in the slow movements, such as the Largo of the Concerto, op. 4/7, in episodes of that Concerto’s finale, the extended solo in the long Minuet at the end of op. 4/10, and the relatively virtuosic solos at the end in the Largo and the final Allegro of op. 4/12, with its fencing-like ripostes among the solo violins. All but one of the concertos appear in major keys, and several of them bear titles (op. 4/8, “a imitazione de Corni da Caccia”; op. 4/10, “Da camera,” and op. 4/11, in C Minor, “a 5, Da chiesa”); op. 4/10, despite its Minuet, with the abovementioned violin solo, sounds almost Corellian. In the Vivace of the hunting horn concerto, the solo trades horn fifth-like motives with the strings in a way that suggests the virtuosity of the earlier opus. Once again, in the concertos, Wallfisch and the Raglan Baroque communicate contagious excitement, enhanced by bright sound well captured by the engineers. Enthusiastically recommended to aficionados of the Baroque, to all string-players, and to collectors in general. If you missed it the first time around, here’s your chance.
FANFARE: Robert Maxham
Works on This Recording
Concertos (12) for Strings, Op. 4 by Pietro Antonio Locatelli
Raglan Baroque Players
Written: by 1735; Italy
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