Caught in Italian Virtuosity

Floral design

4 Times Baroque
deutsche harmonia mundi 19075818232
Music by Corelli, Handel, Merula, Prowo, Sammartini & Vivaldi

[dropcap]4[/dropcap] Times Baroque are four extremely photogenic young lads with talent oozing from every pore; they are captivating in live performance and I am more than happy to report that their flair and panache carry over into the recording studio. Being one of those recorder, violin, cello and keyboard line-ups, some of the repertoire has had to be arranged to suit, but is none the worse for that. Slightly surprising is the choice to allocate the Follia variations from the end of Corelli’s op. 5 set of violin sonatas to Jan Nigge on recorder. Yet, as I say, only the most pedantic of dogmatists could fail to be impressed by his engaging performance. They are clearly very familiar with the music; the decorations of the D minor sonata now attributed to Pierre Prowo (though I’m still very convinced that it is Telemann!) could only be pulled off by an ensemble who has the music flowing through their blood. Elsewhere violinist Jonas Zschenderlein impresses in his Croelli sonata, Karl Simko gets a rare moment in the limelight in the second movement of Vivaldi’s RV100, and harpsichordist Alexander von Heißen (who is equally impressive as a soloist) provides an accompaniment that is perfectly judged to provide harmonic support and, where required, rhythmic drive, without ever protruding as seems to be something of a current fad elsewhere. I hope to hear more of these guys soon.

Brian Clark

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