Notes and Editorial Reviews
Concerto in d for 2 Flutes, Oboe, Bassoon, and 2 Violins,
Concerto “in due cori” in A,
Flute Concerto in F,
op. 10/1, “La tempest di Mare.”
Flute Concerto in g,
op. 10/2, “La notte.”
Concerto in G for Oboe and Bassoon,
Concerto in A for 4 Violins,
RV 552, “Per eco in lontano.”
Concerto No. 1 in f. Concerto No. 3 in E?. Concerto No. 8 in A,
Harpsichord Concerto in B?.
Cello Concerto in d
Werner Ehrhardt, cond; Concerto Köln (period instruments)
CAPRICCIO 5132 (2 CDs: 137:00)
Violin Concerto in B?
Capriccio is here making this collection of Italian Baroque concertos, recorded between 1988 and 1992, available in a budget twofer set that you can’t afford to pass up, assuming you didn’t acquire these discs when they were originally released. Concerto Köln has been in the forefront of period-instrument music-making for 27 years now, and while the ensemble has no permanent conductor, it has performed under most, if not all, of the famous leaders of the H.I.P. movement, including Gustav Leonhardt, Philippe Herreweghe, Frans Brüggen, René Jacobs, and others.
The set brings together six of Vivaldi’s well-known and oft-recorded concertos, intermixing them with concertos by three of his close contemporaries.
Giovanni Batista Pergolesi (1710–36) is the youngest of them, born 32 years, a full generation, after Vivaldi, but as you can see from his dates, he lived to be only 26, dying five years before Vivaldi. Pergolesi is best known as a master of
opera buffa; La Serva Padrona
(The Servant Mistress) is a highlight of his output and a brilliant example of the genre. For some time, he was also widely known for a set of concerti grossi mistakenly attributed to him and which are now known to be by Wilhelm von Wassenaer. But Pergolesi did write a number of serious operas, as well as sacred works and instrumental compositions, among which the Violin Concerto in B?-Major performed here by violinist Andrea Keller is a fine example of the composer’s vocal style applied to purely instrumental music.
Leonardo Leo (1694–1744) is the next youngest composer among this gang of four, born 16 years after Vivaldi but surviving him by only three years. Leo’s reputation rests today almost solely on half a dozen cello concertos, of which the one in D Minor is ably performed here by cellist Werner Matzke. During his lifetime, however, Leo, like Pergolesi, was especially appreciated for his comic operas and for some of his sacred works. His serious operas were less well received, being criticized for a lack of boldness and passion.
Chronologically by birth, Francesco Durante (1684–1755) is closest to Vivaldi, born only six years later, but he outlived Vivaldi by 14 years. Durante is the odd man out in this gathering of composers, indeed among Italian Baroque composers in general, in that he showed very little interest in opera. The bulk of his output consists of sacred choral works, though he did write a number of concertos for strings sans soloist, along the lines of Vivaldi’s string concertos; three of them are included here, in F Minor, E?-Major, and A Major. Also included is a harpsichord concerto in B?-Major, performed by Gerald Hambitzer. No date is given for this work, but considering that Durante was born a year before Bach and that Bach’s harpsichord concertos are believed to be among the earliest keyboard concertos written, it’s possible that Durante beat Bach to the punch. But even if he didn’t, working mainly in Naples, he would have come up with the idea on his own, completely independent of Bach.
Nothing need be added about Vivaldi or the specific concertos included here; the composer’s life and work are well documented, and the concertos chosen for this Italian Baroque bouquet have been widely recorded.
Sensible size—17 players—sane tempos, and sure technique distinguish these performances by Concerto Köln under its leader for this collection, Werner Ehrhardt.
FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
Works on This Recording
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