Locatelli: L’arte del violino: Violin Concertos Op. 3/1, 2, 10 & 11

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COMPOSERS: Locatelli
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: L’arte del violino: Violin Concertos Op. 3/1, 2, 10 & 11
PERFORMER: Giuliano Carmignola (violin); Venice Baroque Orchestra/Andrea Marcon
CATALOGUE NO: SK 89729
Giuliano Carmignola and the Venice Baroque Orchestra here add two more discs to their so far small but acclaimed discography. In his L’arte del violino, Locatelli extended the possibilities of violin technique to extraordinary heights of fantasy and athleticism. This aspect of his skill is not so much apparent in the standard three movements of the Vivaldian concerto as in the two written-out cadenzas which Locatelli included in each concerto. He called each of them a capriccio, and they vary widely in length. The capriccios lend a character to the works both experimental and unorthodox. Carmignola contends with their pyrotechnics with consummate artistry, while elsewhere expressing Locatelli’s more modestly conceived ideas with elegance and tonal warmth. He plays only four of the 12 concertos but, on balance, has chosen some of the stronger and more appealing works from the set.

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Musically speaking, Carmignola’s other new disc is the more rewarding of the two. It contains six hitherto commercially unrecorded violin concertos by Vivaldi. These are late works whose tuttis contain many galant gestures, sometimes leaning towards the spirit and inflective manner of the early Mannheim composers. Carmignola enlivens outer movements with playing that is full of character, energy and sensibility. They are qualities that are shared by the Venice Baroque Orchestra which aids and abets him throughout. In slow movements Vivaldi’s innate poetic sense is fully expressed and his wonderfully evocative melodic contours followed with wistful yearning. All is directed with insight and impeccable taste by Andrea Marcon. A very fine issue. Nicholas Anderson