Arcangelo Corelli’s final work, his Op. 6 set of 12 concerti grossi, is undeniably one of the greatest Baroque masterpieces. There have been many fine recordings of these concertos, and this recent traversal by the Dutch ensemble Musica Amphion, directed by harpsichordist Pieter-Jan Belder, is yet another. Like Fabio Biondi with Europa Galante (Naïve), the Chiara Banchini/Jesper Christensen collaboration with Ensemble 415 (Harmonia Mundi), and Esteban Velardi with the Alessandro Stradella Consort (Dynamic), Belder enlivens the work with his conscientiously varied range of tempos. The ensemble’s articulation of the final Allegro of the Second concerto, the second Allegro of the famous Eighth (Christmas Concerto), the Allemanda allegroRead more of the Ninth, and the Allegro of the 12th are wonderfully vigorous and spirited.
Corelli’s ravishing slower movements are equally well-considered and beautifully shaped, though there are moments such as in the opening Largo-allegro of the First concerto, Vivace-allegro of the Second, and the fourth-movement Adagio-Allegro-Adagio of the Eighth where certain gestures are so elongated that the musical line barely maintains its continuity. However, these mannerisms are few, and thankfully lessen as the cycle progresses, detracting very little overall from Musica Amphion’s excellent achievement. Brilliant Classics’ sound is simply gorgeous, with superb clarity and presence. At budget price as well, you can hardly go wrong.