WORKS: Concerti Grossi, Op. 3
PERFORMER: Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: 111 OPS 30-172
After Handel, Geminiani was among the most prominent foreign musicians to settle in England during the first half of the 18th century. His most celebrated collection of concertos was published in 1732 as his Op. 3. Charles Burney rated them highly and it is easy to see why: they are beautifully crafted pieces modelled, to some extent, on those of his teacher, Corelli. But, in addition to the two violins and cello which form the typical concertino/solo group of the Corellian concerto grosso, Geminiani added a viola to make up a quartet. He was not quite the first to do this, but he was the first to integrate the solo and grosso elements with such finesse.
These are notably expressive performances of the six concertos of Geminiani’s Op. 3. The solo violin playing, however, is not always as secure as it needs to be, and there are several uncomfortable moments in the finale of the D major Concerto (No. 1). The programme also includes Geminiani’s own concerto arrangement of Corelli’s Violin Sonata, La follia, the best-known work from his set of 12, published in 1700. Nicholas Anderson