Musica Antiqua Latina
deutsche harmonia mundi 88875174822
Music by G. B. Bassani, G. M. Bononcini, Cazzati, Corelli, D. Gabrielli, Torelli, Vitali & anonymous
Corelli tends to be filed under “Roman” composers; this CD sets out to balance that assumption by contrasting three of his trios (including the Ciaccona that ends his op. 2 set) with music of contemporaries. While I enjoyed a lot of what Musica Antiqua Latina do here, several things irked me, too; the strumming guitar for one, the disconnect with the booklet note for another (lots about Corelli in Bologna, almost nothing about the music we hear), the programme’s sub-title (how can people who lived before or at the same time as Corelli be described as his successors?), the portrait of Sammartini purporting to be Bassani (OK, they have the same Christian names, but that wig is way too modern!), and – to crown it all, at least for me – a Balletto by Vitali in which the three voices play in different meters, except because of the “arty arrangement” (ironic use of language) we never hear it as it was printed in the composer’s op. 13 (Artificii musicali) so we don’t really get the point…
This sort of thing might work very successfully in live performance, so I could perhaps understand its inclusion if this were a DVD release; here it is plain daft. Like a rush of Red Priest to the head. When a group plays so beautifully together (as they do on the majority of this disc), why resort to gimmickery of any sort?