Veracini: Overtures & Concerti Vol. 2

L’Arte dell’Arco, Federico Guglielmo
cpo 555 220-2

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A slightly younger contemporary of Bach and Handel and younger still than Telemann, Veracini has always seemed to me to invite comparison with the last. Always imaginative and influenced by a range of musical styles, he appears however to lack the final spark of genius which Telemann displays. In fact, Veracini belongs to a whole separate tradition of the travelling violinist virtuoso composer, and both the flamboyance of the composer and the instability of the career are underlined by an anecdote relating how Veracini broke his leg by throwing himself out of a window while on tour. The composer’s more extravagant nature is most in evidence in the two sonatas for violin and continuo recorded here. The D major violin concerto is also a sparkling affair in the post-Vivaldi mode, with lots of virtuosic demands placed upon the soloist. Federico Guglielmo is an able and expressive soloist as well as directing the ensemble extremely effectively. So the present CD offers an interesting cross-section of Veracini’s output, with one major reservation. It is recorded in the Gabinetto di Lettura in Este, and sadly it sounds as if it was recorded in an actual cabinet – the ambience is startlingly immediate, brittle and dead. This an enormous shame as the performances sound really persuasive and technically impressive, but with such a dead acoustic this is not a relaxing listen.

D. James Ross 

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