Handel, Purcell, Vivaldi, Bach, Locatelli, A Marcello

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: A Marcello,Bach,Handel,Locatelli,Purcell,Vivaldi
LABELS: Analekta
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: A Baroque Feast
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra/Jeanne Lamon
Seasoned Baroque enthusiasts will not find much in the way of novelty in this well-contrasted and mainly cheerful programme from the excellent Canadian Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. But they may well be enchanted by it, for this is no mere sampler containing morceaux choisis, but a carefully chosen menu featuring music from Italy, Germany and England, though, somewhat curiously, not France. Tafelmusik has maintained one of the highest profiles among period instrument ensembles for over 20 years, and the vitality and finesse of the playing on this disc fully justifies an elevated position in the current league table. Director and violinist Jeanne Lamon appears as soloist only in Vivaldi’s celebrated Double Concerto in A minor (Op. 3/8) in which she is evenly partnered by Geneviève Gilardeau. This piece, along with Handel’s captivating Harp Concerto (Op. 3/6), played with sensibility by Maxine Eilander, inspires the most satifying performances; but I hasten to add that I experienced not a dull minute from start to finish. The soloists in Vivaldi’s only concerto for two cellos sustain a strong partnership, savouring the poetry of its poignant slow movement, and oboist John Abberger gives a supple, unhurried and tastefully ornamented account of Alessandro Marcello’s Oboe Concerto. Only the subtly expressive Sinfonia to Bach’s Eastertide cantata ‘Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats’ (BWV 42) finds occasional chinks in an otherwise almost impregnable corporate armour; and the pulse is maintained a shade too rigidly. But, all in all, a rewarding issue. Nicholas Anderson