Locatelli: Introduzioni teatrali; Concerti, Op. 4

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COMPOSERS: Locatelli
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Introduzioni teatrali; Concerti, Op. 4
PERFORMER: Raglan Baroque Players/Elizabeth Wallfisch (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67041/2
The Raglan Baroque Players and violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch, who directs these performances, are doing great service to the music of Locatelli. They have already recorded the composer’s 12 Concertos, Op. 1, as well as the better known L’arte del violino (Op. 3) with its dauntingly virtuosic Capriccii.

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The 12 compositions which make up Locatelli’s Op. 4 are hardly less interesting. The first six pieces, though formally resembling three-movement concertos or sinfonias are termed Introduttioni teatrali. Their manner is forward-looking, occupying ground between the older concerto grosso and the early symphony.

The remaining six pieces are concerti grossi, though with features that make them anything but old-fashioned. Wallfisch and this excellent band of string players seem to revel in the fertile invention and sheer ebullience of the music, making it spring to life from the printed page.

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Only occasionally, and mainly in slow movements such as those of the Fourth and Fifth Introduttioni is the string sound a little too thin and undernourished. But for the most part I found myself effortlessly carried along by the exuberance of Wallfisch’s direction and the lively response of the players. An invigorating release. Nicholas Anderson