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COMPOSERS: Castrucci
LABELS: Glissando
WORKS: Concerti grossi Op. 3/4, 5, 6, 9, 11 & 12
PERFORMER: Halle Handel Festival Orchestra/Anton Steck
CATALOGUE NO: 779 034-2
Pietro Castrucci is chiefly remembered, if at all outside specialist circles, as the leader of Handel’s opera orchestra in London. A Roman by birth and perhaps a pupil of Corelli, he came to London in about 1715. I should guess that this is the first ever disc in which Castrucci’s music is the sole feature. It contains six of the 12 concerti grossi published in London in 1736 as the composer’s Op. 3. The idiom has an individual flavour which derives both from the Corellian concept of the concerto grosso and that of the more up-to-date concertos of the Venetians. The Andante of the ninth concerto of the set, a brisk minuet, has an airy, forward-looking aspect and might easily be mistaken for the work of John Stanley or Charles Avison. Other movements have a stronger Italian bias, well illustrated by the twelfth concerto


of the set, in D major, one of the strongest works here. Taken together, these concertos possess energy, charm and sufficient invention to sustain our interest; but what assists their cause is the vitality of the period instrumentalists of the Halle Handel Festival Orchestra under its director Anton Steck. Only a meagre playing time of 46 minutes casts a shadow over an otherwise excellent release. Nicholas Anderson