Friday, 22 August 2014

Album review - Locatelli's Concerto Grossi Op 1, No 1-6

It's been a while since I posted and may be a while till I post again, it's a tough time at the moment. But I thought I would take this opportunity to post an review I wrote which I posted on Classicsonline. It''s for a Naxos recording of Locatelli's Concerto Grossi Op 1 No 1-6 performed by Capella Istropolitana conducted by Jaroslav Krcek.

Locatelli’s Concerto Grossi is a vivid collection of the moods of the violin that never loses the liveliness we can expect from a virtuosic player-composer. They’re not violin concertos of course, but they make heavy use of the string section and feature many violin solos and it’s these that really give the overall Opus its character and separate it from the better known Concerto Grossi of Handel and Corelli.

While they also make good use of the strings, Locatelli’s violin glides effortlessly over the whole and produces the feeling of each movement, from the lively opening of No 1 to the graceful beauty of No 5’s Largo where the violin works in concert with an organ.

The movements are constantly shifting as Locatelli paints a colourful abstract that never allows you to fall into complacency. The movement following the Largo of No 5 is a racing Allegro with the strings rolling along beside a harpsichord.
Even the structures of the individual concerto grosso are disparate so there’s no risk of falling into a formula. Most do start with a livelier movement, usually an Allegro – in fact, most movements are Allegros – but No 6 opens with an almost haunting Adagio before plunging into an Allegro where the strings are split into two refrains which work together at the end for a harmonious whole, underpinned along the way by the harpsichord.

This performance by Capella Istropolitana is smooth and fluid, ranging over the differing movements effortlessly so we can enjoy the journey and never feel jarred. It is a masterful display of some lesser known but very deserving Baroque.

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