Concerti Bizarri

Irish Baroque Orchestra, Monica Huggett
73:00
Linn Records CKD526
Music by Fasch, Graupner, Heinichen, Telemann & Vivaldi

Seven concertos for all sorts of combinations of instruments feature on this entertaining disc; there are two pieces each by Fasch (including one without orchestra!) and Graupner, and one each by the other three composers listed above. Of course there are many interconnections between the four German composers; all of them was influenced by the development of the Italian concerto, whose chief exponent was Vivaldi. The solo line-ups are: flute and oboe, two cellos, two violins and bassoon, and flute d’amore (actually played on a normal traverso), oboe d’amore and viola d’amore (possibly not the piece you are thinking of – this is Graupner at his bizarre best). There are solo concertos for oboe (Heinichen) and bassoon (Graupner again). The concerto without orchestra is Fasch’s septet for pairs of oboes da caccia, violas and bassoons with continuo. The music is always earcatching and the captivating performances (and the bright recording) abound with verve and energy; one striking overall impression is the diversity the five composers brought to a single form, by use of instrumental colour and a variety of compositional styles, some opting for virtuosic display, others (by whom I primarily mean Graupner) preferring to find new ways to keep the listener guessing. Definitely an excellent disc from all concerned.

Brian Clark