Corelli: Concerti grossi, Op. 6/4, 8 (Christmas Concerto), 11 & 12; Sonata a quattro in G minor; Fuga a quattro voci

Concerti grossi, Op. 6/4, 8 (Christmas Concerto), 11 & 12; Sonata a quattro in G minor; Fuga a quattro voci
New Dutch Academy CO/Simon Murphy
Catalogue Number:
PTC 5186 031
BBC Music Magazine
When it came to his orchestral music, size mattered for Corelli and there are contemporary accounts of performances he directed involving more than a hundred musicians. Today there are recordings of his celebrated Op. 6 to suit all tastes – from the intimate, one-to-a-part account of the Christmas Concerto by London Baroque (BIS) to grandiose performances on modern instruments by I Musici (Philips). These accounts by the New Dutch Academy – a big band playing on period instruments – reflect the best of both worlds. Its sound is sumptuous, but textures are sufficiently transparent to allow details to cut through, and the historically informed approach includes stylish ornamentation and a battery of continuo instruments which would surely have delighted the composer. In the CD booklet, director Simon Murphy likens Corelli to Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, and he infuses these accounts with subtle jazz-like touches: swinging rhythms, inventive extemporisations and vigorous guitar strumming effects. Above all, Murphy really conveys the sense of architecture to Corelli’s long, arching melodies. Thanks to some technical wizardry, Utrecht’s dry, purpose-built concert hall sounds almost like a resonant Roman church. The thrilling and idiosyncratic accounts of Op. 6 by Europa Galante and Fabio Biondi would be my first choice, but the New Dutch Academy certainly has much to offer. Kate Bolton
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