Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Arcangelo Corelli, Fabio Biondi, Europa Galante|
Corelli: Concerti Grossi
Lean But Not Mean
Ruminator | The Fencepost | 03/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Change can take time to get accustomed to. I first heard Opus 6 played by large orchestras, and for a long time favored performances of Corelli by Ensemble 415 for their rich instrumentation, stretched-out tempos and Roman grandeur.
However, time passes - though for all I know Ensemble 415 may forever be stuck on one of those suspended chord changes I once thought so beautiful. Banchini & Gatti are like ice melting at 33F and I finally lost patience with their long pauses and dense textures. Heavy tempos and orchestration may not be such a good thing even with the Grand Corelli, despite his own approval of large ensembles for these concertos.
So the thought of Biondi &co pacing through these concertos with a little more energy recently became more attractive to me. The risk is, with his violinism often veering into the red zone, Biondi can be distracting or amusing, but rarely inobtrusive. I took a chance after hearing a few samples (you have to dig for them on the original releases).
As often happens with string music, the samples don't give the recordings due justice. Europa Galante sounds much less scrawny when reproduced at full range, and the balance between inertial and kinetic forces seems appropriate. While I knew in advance this group would never bore me like E415, I was also happy to hear them give the music a chance to breathe when expected, as in the Pastoral of No. 8.
Biondi's flamboyant approach to baroque violin seems to be growing on me. I'm pleasantly surprised that this Op. 6 seems to be the one to have, and this 2-fer-1 reissue makes it excellent value. If Europa Galante's dizzy dynamics catch your liking, I also recommend their Vol 2 of Vivaldi's Concertos for Multiple Instruments, with plenty of hot licks for all involved."
Sator | Sydney, Australia | 04/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As usual Farbio Biondi and Europa Galante can be counted on for performances of great virtuostic flair and expressive warmth, rivalled by few ensembles active today. Their advocacy of Corelli's wonderful set of published Concerti Grossi cannot be praised highly enough.
Corelli was a composer who was reknown in his time for his virtuoso violin playing. Although he eventually lapsed into obscurity, his music was held in high regard right up till the early 19th century, when some scholars regarded his music to be superior to that of Handel. Stylistically he fits into the tradition of Concerto Grosso writing of movements that alternated in the slow-quick-slow-quick fashion that later gave way to the Venetian Concerto with its quick-slow-quick format. A Roman artist, it is interesting to note the great reserve, nobility and eloquence of the writing which demands comparison to his more colorful Venetian colleagues. Perhaps that even reflects a certain influence of Palestrina, for the reserved and eloquent lyricism with a relative avoidance of clashing dissonance certainly begs comparison. The result is music that compares favorably to Mozart in its angelic effortlessness, except garnished with an added touch of Italianate virtuostic flair, as well as some wonderful part writing.
Corelli is a composer who really should be played, heard and loved much more than he is. If you love to discover semi-obscure Baroque composer of extraordinary depth and profundity, you will find undiscovered riches here aplenty. For those already familiar with Corelli, the performances here could scarcely be bettered, and when presented in this sort of value for money package, it is a down right steal.
Wonderfull music, wonderfull performance
Ross Kennett | Narooma, NSW Australia | 01/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As I agree with most of the reviews posted previously, I will be brief. For many years Corelli was the most revered composer in Europe, it is thought that he probably composed a great deal of music but all we have now is that published, opus 1 to 6, and a short trumpet concerto. I have all his available music on CD, and was delighted with the English Concert's version of these Concerti Grossi, and even more pleased with this version by the Fabulous Fabio Biondi. My only criticism is very minor, the cover notes are pathetic. If you enjoy this music you should get opus 5, sonata for violin and harprichord, I am very pleased with the version by Monica Huggett's Sonnerie on Virgin, but I think it is no longer available."