Torelli: Violin Concertos,

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Torelli
LABELS: Chandos Chaccone
ALBUM TITLE: Torelli
WORKS: Violin Concertos,
PERFORMER: Catherine Weiss, Crispian Steele-Perkins, David Blackadder, Collegium Musicum 90, Simon Standage
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 0716
Torelli’s Op. 8 marks the dividing line between earlier Baroque concerti grossi – here, with two violins – and later solo concertos. Richard Maunder, their editor, has discovered various legitimate approaches to performance, ranging from chamber ensemble with bass violin to a weighty 14 strings.

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Of 12 concertos in the set, here are four for two violins, three for violin solo – and splendidly played. Simon Standage and Catherine Weiss are well-matched in the double concertos, from hair-raising momentum to lovely slow-movement dialogue. In the solo concertos, Standage sometimes sacrifices impulsion to expressive gesture in fast movements but elsewhere he’s dazzling, and he growls away on lower strings with tremendous energy in the final track on the disc. The metropolitan rumble of the recording venue, a London church, creates a sense of ‘presence’ though it clouds some quiet moments in slow movements.

The string concertos are leavened by three for trumpets. Although the accompaniment here has added richness – six violas with other strings to match – Crispian Steele-Perkins plays with rare lightness and delicacy, alone in one and with David Blackadder in two more.

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Apart from the Christmas Concerto, No. 6, not a note is otherwise currently available on disc; such undeserved neglect earns this disc a particularly warm welcome. George Pratt