The Golden Age

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COMPOSERS: GB Sammartini and Tartini,Locatelli,Vivaldi
ALBUM TITLE: The Golden Age
PERFORMER: La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler (violin)


La Serenissima’s third volume in its series ,i>The Rise of the North Italian Concerto contains two of Vivaldi’s most richly scored works together with others by Locatelli, GB Sammartini and Tartini. All the concertos, perhaps with the exception of the Sammartini which was certainly unfamiliar to my ears, can be found elsewhere in the catalogue, so there are few if any new encounters for the seasoned Italian Baroque concerto enthusiast. Director and solo violinist Adrian Chandler’s delight in Vivaldi’s music is self-evident from his invariably stylish and affectionate performances, and there is plenty of scope for his lively imagination in the present pieces. Both are scored for pairs of oboes and horns, solo violin, bassoon and strings with additional timpani in RV 562a. This last-mentioned concerto was performed at the centenary celebrations of an Amsterdam theatre in 1738, when the dazzling solo violin part was probably played by the great man himself. La Serenissima’s playing sparkles infectiously with robust, full-on contributions from the horns; just occasionally I sensed a hint of insecurity in the solo violin playing but never enough to spoil my enjoyment. The remaining works afford pleasure at almost every turn, from the colourful scoring for oboes, horns, trumpets and violins in the Sammartini to the poetic Largo andante of the Tartini concerto. In short this is a well-chosen programme played with fervour and infectious esprit which will delight most if not all readers. I look forward to further instalments. Nicholas Anderson