Extra Time

La Serenissima, Adrian Chandler
Signum Classics SIGCD641

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This splendidly refined recording does feel like an “extended” Part 2 programme, or follow-on from the marvellous “Godfather” which duly reaped wide-spread accolades and glowing punditry; now continuing in a similarly rich vein of fascinating and varied baroquery, including Nicola Matteis the Younger’s impressive and richly scored (four trumpets and drums, etc.) “balletic” insertions into Antonio Caldara’s operas for Vienna; music as diverting and distracting, as it is charged with a processional flair; no doubt some clever scene changes were made during these episodes. This along with healthy doses of core Vivaldi to provide the fillings between the smart, brassy outside wingers! These include Albinoni’s slick Sinfonia with two trumpets for his opera La Statira. This is all grist to the musical mill for La Serenissima, who follow in the wake of their star players. The ostensibly Italianate violinistic passages are unforced and polished with perky tutti replies. On Pages 10-13 in the CD booklet, we read the amazing composite details of the various recording dates of these works. How the cleverly this “jig-saw puzzle” comes together with over-arching practicality and miraculous synchronicity for over an hour’s worth of noteworthy pieces. G. A. Brescianello continues to supply delights in that high-flown italian style, possibly finding – beyond the obvious Vivaldian expression – the absorption and impetus of certain elements from E. F. Dall’Abaco vicariously rubbing off when he played alongside him in Munich; the fine Largo in the rather tuneful G major violin concerto displays a special operatic calibre that stops you right in your tracks! With the Vivaldi Concerto in F for the “Solemnity of St. Lawrence” (composed around 1727), the contrasting movements are tackled well, with the flashy solo peaks of the first movement, a rather apt solemnity in the second, and overtly joyful third: Allegro non molto, where the second violins seem to chime together with festive bell-like tones between the brisk ritornello theme. This line-up of works, the incredible providence of it all coming together strand by strand, and the splendid, collated effect of these highly entertaining works, with new sonorous treats, again around three bold, brassy pillars, combining some familiar pieces with a generous host of new ones to savour; the playing on “extra time” leads to yet another “Golden goal” for La Serenissima and their continued striving to provide Top League baroquery! Bravi tutti!

David Bellinger

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