WORKS: Concerti grossi, Op. 6/7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
PERFORMER: Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi
CATALOGUE NO: 111 OPS 30-155
There is no shortage of recordings of Corelli’s celebrated and only set of Concerti grossi, Op. 6. Some favour large groups, others much smaller ones. Europa Galante inclines towards the latter category, with 12 players, in addition to the two violins and cello of the concertino, which provides the contrasting element.
This is the second volume of the recorded set, containing Concertos Nos 7-12. Two of these, one of them the much-loved Christmas Concerto, are ostensibly in the serious da chiesa mould, while the four remaining pieces are concerti da camera with their closer identity to dance measures.
But often the dividing line between the two is blurred and the matter is, anyway, hardly of overriding importance. The playing is enjoyable for the most part, though I felt a lack of Corellian nobility and resonance in the Seventh and Eighth Concertos. The two concertino violinists ornament the music tastefully and spontaneously yet are inclined to overdo it with fussy arabesques, and in one or two of the slow movementsI felt an intrusive element of sentiment creeping in. I also found the spacious, reverberant recording acoustic is inappropriate to the modestly-sized band. A mixed pleasure. Nicholas Anderson