The English Con­cert

BBC Music Magazine - - Concerto Reviews -

Dall’abaco: Con­certo a piu in­stru­menti in D; Mar­cello: Oboe Con­certo in D mi­nor;

Por­pora: Cello Con­certo in G; Tar­tini: Vi­o­lin Con­certo in B mi­nor; Tele­mann: Vi­ola Con­certo in G Katha­rina Spreck­elsen (oboe), Nadja Zwiener, Tumo Sami (vi­o­lin), Al­fonso Leal del Ojo (vi­ola), Joseph Crouch (cello); The English Con­cert/

Harry Bicket

Signum Clas­sics SIGCD 549 68:43 mins ★ere’s that in­creas­ing rar­ity: a Baroque disc with no con­cep­tual axe to grind, no over­ar­ch­ing theme – save for giv­ing mem­bers of The English Con­cert a con­certo mo­ment in the sun – and seem­ingly out to do lit­tle more than de­light (which it does so in spades). Lis­ten­ers de­ter­mined to win­kle out a seam of di­dac­ti­cism might note that the com­posers are pretty much all of the same gen­er­a­tion, and that four of the five are Ital­ian, sug­gest­ing a plau­si­ble snap­shot of the con­certo in its orig­i­nat­ing nat­u­ral habi­tat. But then Dall’abaco carved out a niche for him­self in Mu­nich; Por­pora spent a decade in Lon­don lock­ing op­er­atic horns with ★an­del; and Tele­mann’s Vi­ola Con­certo in G fu­mi­gates a Corel­lian poise with what its com­poser glee­fully de­scribed as ‘the smell of France’. (A slightly starchy Largo aside, soloist Al­fonso Leal del Ojo’s per­for­mance is the very model of debonair so­phis­ti­ca­tion.)

It’s not the only ‘French smell’ in prospect ei­ther. The Dall’abaco looks to Paris in a Ci­ac­cona that bounces along with know­ing suavity, fol­low­ing which ★arry Bicket adroitly segues into the jovial Ron­deau without bat­ting an eye­lid. Gal­vanised, buoy­ant, ev­ery­thing is moulded with scrupu­lous good taste and sparkle, and Bicket’s mea­sured tempo for the open­ing move­ment of the Mar­cello Oboe Con­certo al­lows Katha­rina Spreck­elsen max­i­mum ex­pres­sive lee­way, while Joseph Crouch is cer­tainly feel­ing the love in the aria-like Amoroso from Por­pora’s Cello Con­certo in G.

There’s room on the disc for an ex­tra con­certo, but with such gen­er­ous mu­sic-mak­ing, no one need feel short-changed by its non­ap­pear­ance! Paul Ri­ley PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★

RECORD­ING ★★★★★

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