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Brescianello – Behind Closed Doors, Vol. 1

La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler (violin) (Signum Classics)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Behind Closed Doors, Vol. 1: Sinfonias Nos 1-3; Ouverture-Suite in B flat; Violin Concertos Nos 1-3
La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler (violin)
Signum Classics SIGCD 693   69:37 mins


‘Behind Closed Doors’, while suggesting high level diplomacy, intrigue or, perhaps, mischievous romps, refers to none of these, but is the title chosen by La Serenissima’s director, Adrian Chandler, to illustrate the serious artistic and financial difficulties faced by musicians during the Coronavirus pandemic. This release, the first of two, features three violin concertos and three sinfonias from Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello’s Op. 1. The remaining concertos and sinfonias will appear in a forthcoming release.

Brescianello was a Venetian violinist and composer who spent most of his working life in Stuttgart. His Op. 1 was published in Amsterdam, probably in about 1727, though later dates have been suggested. The debt to his slightly older contemporary, Vivaldi, is at once apparent, though only very rarely could this music be mistaken for the work of his celebrated compatriot. The Adagio ed à tempo giusto of the A minor Violin Concerto bears a strong likeness to the Largo of the last concerto of Vivaldi’s set, La Stravaganza, and much of the solo passagework elsewhere has a Vivaldian flavour.

The performances by this accomplished ensemble are polished and invigorating. Chandler’s solo violin playing is articulate, warm-toned and communicative, and he is supported throughout by his disciplined and responsive players, among whom the continuo group excels. In addition to the concertos and sinfonias, La Serenissima plays an attractive Ouverture-Suite, in which the French style, though with a distinctive German spin, takes precedence over the Italian. All the music here is for strings, with no woodwind or brass. In summary, a rewarding issue.


Nicholas Anderson