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Leclair • Locatelli • Vivaldi: Violin Concertos

Théotime Langlois de Swarte (violin); Les Ombres/Margaux Blanchard (Harmonia Mundi)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Leclair • Locatelli • Vivaldi
Leclair: Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 7/5; Violin Concerto in D, Op. 10/3; Locatelli: L’Arte del Violino Op. 3 – Concerto No. 8; Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in B minor, RV 384; Violin Concerto in C, RV179a Per Anna Maria etc
Théotime Langlois de Swarte (violin); Les Ombres/Margaux Blanchard
Harmonia Mundi HMM902649   74:17 mins 

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This recording brings together concertos by three of the greatest violin virtuosos of the first half of the 18th century. Almost all of them are well represented on disc but the C major Concerto by Vivaldi is an interesting variant of another, in the same key ‘per la Santissima Assontione di Maria Vergine’, RV581. It has survived in the partbook of Vivaldi’s star pupil, Anna Maria, though of the concluding movement only the solo violin part has been preserved. This has been reconstructed by Olivier Fourés. All the music calls for a high level of technical expertise, the C major Vivaldi piece containing the composer’s own cadenza, and the Locatelli concerto, in common with the others comprising his L’Arte del Violino, Op. 3, two extended solo capriccios.

Leclair and Locatelli first played together in 1728 when they were dubbed, respectively, an angel and a devil. If pyrotechnics are your thing then Locatelli is your man. If you rather prefer gentle inflections, dance inspired gestures, moments of alluring melody and, in short, a subtle blend of Italian and French manners, then Leclair will not disappoint. Théotime Langlois de Swarte athletically realises all these virtues, uniting complexities and poetry in Vivaldi’s two concertos. Just occasionally, in the Leclair pieces, I would prefer a loosening of expressive intensity. Les Ombres, under its co-founder and bass violist Margaux Blanchard, provide a lively and sympathetic rapport with the soloist.

Nicholas Anderson

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