Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Brescianello
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 5; Concerto in G minor; Concerto in E minor; Concerto in B; Overture in G minor; Chaconne in A
PERFORMER: La Cetra Baroque Orchestra Basel/ David Plantier, Václav Luks
Though Bolognese by birth, Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello (c1690-1758) spent his working life in the Württemberg court at Stuttgart. Like his native German contemporaries, Telemann and Bach in particular, he was fluent in various national styles yet, strangely, his Italianate music here is the more superficial. The Vivaldian concertos for colourful solo combinations, including violin/ oboe and violin/bassoon, depend on overextended sequences and repetitions, gesture and figuration, rather than closely wrought argument. They’re delightful occasional music, nonetheless, and superbly played by this company of teachers and graduates from the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. An Overture with airs and dances demonstrates that Brescianello had a much more authentic French accent. In repeats, added oboes and bassoon (a wholly legitimate option) provide a wind trio contrast to strings, in a charming Gavotte for instance. Other dances are vividly characterised – great scrunches of plucked continuo drive the pulse of a Rigaudon. Only reverberant church acoustic defeats the otherwise excellent recorded sound – staccatos become accented sustained notes – though the resonance enriches the warmth of the 13 strings. The high point is a Chaconne, a repeated four-bar pattern which Brescianello, and this polished band, extends for over five minutes of astonishingly imaginative textures, modes and figurations. It’s totally absorbing music to end a captivating disc. George Pratt