Friday, February 24, 2017

Torelli, Giuseppe. (1658-1709)The Original Brandenburg Concertos, Concerti Musicali, opus 6 (1698) & Sonata a 4 in A minor, G 46.

New acquisition.
Bought in February 2017.
First listen: 24-2-2017
Label: Signum.
Recording dates: April 2008.
Recording venue: St Andrew's Church, Toddington, Gloucestershire, England.
Recording engineer: Adrian Hunter.
Running time: 62:30.
Classical relevance to me: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed by:
Charivari Agréable, Kah Ming Ng.

I am happy that a disc surfaced with music by Giuseppe Torelli, which is a rarity, for he is almost forgotten or neglected. Quite an important composer, revered by many. His music was used in compositions by J.S. Bach and Johann Gottfried Walther, just to name a few. There is no reason I could find, why he is hardly recorded or performed. As a composer his compositional standard is high and his technical skills without doubt up to scratch. So this disc is doubly welcome if only to hear the music he composed. It is rather fascinating to know that these Brandenburg concertos were written a quarter of a century before J.S. Bach put his mind to it. As such Torelli's opus 6 are also masterworks, there is no doubt in my mind about it. It is a virtual joy to hear what Torelli did in the opus 6. Creative in melodies, elegant in their bearing, harmonious, and well written. It is a pity therefore that this ensemble is not quite up to scratch. Don't get me wrong though. Charivari Agréable is technically a top ensemble, but academic in the extreme. Historically well informed they play as a well oiled machine, but rather mechanical. In all their authenticity they miss the sunny side of the music. Formal and strict come to mind, inflexibility, a rather conservative approach if it comes to tempi, and a certain inflexibility in applying them. Technically they deliver a pristine performance, but rather very English. The Ïtalianate character is lost on them. Still since there is not an influx of recordings with the music by Torelli, so I keep this one close to heart. The info in the booklet is clear and wholly understandable, but due for missing pages, and wrong binding, it gets muddled up quite a bit.
The recording is excellent. Recommended with some caution then!

Strauss, Johann II. (1825-1899) The Complete Orchestral Edition. CD 51 & 52

New acquisition. Purchase date: I do not remember. First listen: 21-2-2018. Label: Naxos. CD 51 & 52 from 52. Recording dates: Apri...