Conversed Monologue

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COMPOSERS: JG Graun,Leclair,WF Bach
LABELS: Resonus
ALBUM TITLE: Conversed Monologue
WORKS: JG Graun: Concerto for viola da Gamba in C; Leclair: Concerto for Violin in G minor, Op. 10/6; WF Bach: Harpsichord Concerto in F
PERFORMER: Rie Kimura (violin), Robert Smith (viola da gamba), Guillermo Brachetta (harpsichord); Fantasticus XL


A relative newcomer into the early music scene, Fantasticus XL here traces the influence of the Italian Baroque concerto as it caught fire across Europe. Each of the ensemble’s core members takes centre stage in three unusual works, beginning in high spirits with a virtuoso concerto for viola da gamba by Johann Gottlieb Graun – Frederick the Great’s golden boy. Soloist Robert Smith combines agility with grace in a vivacious performance of this felicitous, if hardly profound, work. The gamba’s delicate sound is never swamped thanks to Graun’s transparent textures and lithe bowing by the modest-sized string ensemble. 

Musically more striking are the concertos by Jean-Marie Leclair and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. The former, Leclair’s Op. 10 No. 6 for solo violin, offsets bravura and eloquence – qualities which Rie Kimura conveys with discrete style, unfazed by Leclair’s dazzling range of bowing techniques, fiddly double stoppings, and high position playing (though her sound becomes rather wiry as she scales the instrument’s upper reaches). In the latter, WF Bach puts the harpsichord soloist through his paces with athletic passagework and intricate figurations, all of which Guillermo Brachetta handles with prowess and fitting gallantry.


Kate Bolton-Porciatti