ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Winged Lion
WORKS: Music by Vivaldi, Buonamente, Castello, Uccellini, Cavalli,
PERFORMER: Palladian Ensemble
CATALOGUE NO: CKD 015 DDD
The Winged Lion is a disappointing follow-up to the Palladian Ensemble’s acclaimed debut of last year. Comprising a selection of chamber music that was popular in 17th-century Venice (though not necessarily composed there), the disc tends towards the musically lightweight, with several pieces exerting only an ephemeral charm.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it is the more familiar names who provide the CD’s brightest moments: Vivaldi’s two chamber concertos evince a typical panache and Cavalli’s Canzon is a model of stylish poise. Of the lesser-known works, I was intrigued by the flamboyant Sonata duodecima from Castello, by Vitali’s gently appealing Ciaconna and by Turini’s serene Sonata a tre.
The Palladian Ensemble, for all their technical virtuosity, do not always sound at ease with this repertoire. Their at times over-emphatic approach inhibits the music’s flow and communicates a feeling of their playing ‘on their best behaviour’. It’s a shame too that the insert notes, though featuring several descriptions of Venice by 17th- and 18th-century British visitors, should include so little information on the composers and their music. Graham Lock