Concerti Grossi, Op. 5
Dominik Kiefer (leader); Capriccio Barockorchester
The elder brother of better known Giovanni Battista Sammartini, Giuseppe came to England in 1728 and quickly established a reputation as an oboist of exceptional ability. He became music master to the Prince of Wales, son of George II, and Handel wrote the obbligato parts in the arias ‘Quella fiamma’ (Arminio) and ‘Chi t’intende?’ (Berenice) specially for him.
This excellent CD of Sammartini’s six Concerti Grossi, Op. 5 and two additional concertos fully confirms his vitality as a composer. The Swiss Capriccio Barockorchester is an accomplished ensemble that has previously released on the same label interesting and unusual repertoire by the English Baroque composer, Richard Mudge, Telemann, Hertel and Lully. Sammartini’s style, though fundamentally Baroque, is generously seasoned with ingredients and flavours of the early Classical style. The Op. 5 Concertos printed in 1747 are orchestrated by Sammartini from a set of his Trio Sonatas, Op. 3, issued a few years earlier. The scoring is varied, with the inclusion of woodwind in the first two concertos of the set recalling Handel’s Concerti Grossi, Op. 3. It is, though, the Rondo and Pastorale of the Sixth Concerto that make the greater appeal.
The two extra concertos are for oboe, though in the second of them its place is usurped by a recorder. It works perfectly well but since it is unequivocally an oboe concerto by a virtuoso player of the instrument why on earth change it? Still, a fine album.