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ClassicsOnline Home » LOCATELLI: Concerti Grossi, Op. 1, Nos. 1- 6
Seamless and expressive
Locatelli’s Concerto Grossi is a vivid collection of the moods of the violin that never loses the liveliness we can expect from a virtuosic player-composer. They’re not violin concertos of course, but they make heavy use of the string section and feature many violin solos, and these really give the overall Opus its character.
Locatelli’s violin glides effortlessly over the whole and produces the feeling of each movement, from the lively opening of No. 1 to the graceful beauty of No. 5’s Largo where the violin works in concert with an organ.
The movements are constantly shifting as Locatelli paints a colourful abstract that never allows you to fall into complacency. The movement following the Largo of No. 5 is a racing Allegro with the strings rolling along beside a harpsichord.
Even the structures of the individual concerto grosso are disparate so there’s no risk of falling into a formula. Most do start with a livelier movement, usually an Allegro – in fact, most movements are Allegros – but No. 6 opens with an almost haunting Adagio before plunging into an Allegro where the strings are split into two refrains which work together at the end for a harmonious whole, underpinned along the way by the harpsichord.
This performance by Capella Istropolitana is smooth and fluid, ranging over the differing movements effortlessly so we can enjoy the journey and never feel jarred. It is a masterful display of some lesser known but very deserving Baroque music.more....
Locatelli: Concerti, Op. 1
I have been thoroughly enjoying it, and will have a more in-depth review after more time with the music.more....
"Capella Istropolitana under its conductor/composer Jaroslav Krecek produces sparkling results...The sound quality does full justice to these admirable performances."
Locatelli (1695 - 1764)
Grossi Op. 1, Nos. 1- 6
Grosso No.1 in F Major
Grosso No.2 in C Minor
Grosso No.3 B Flat Major
Grosso No.4 in E Minor
Grosso No.5 in D Major
Grosso No.6 in C Minor
A native of Bergamo, Pietro
Locatelli was born in 1695 and started his career there as a violinist at the church of S Maria Maggiore, a position
he left in 1711 in order to study in Rome. There it is suggested
that he took lessons from Corelli, a leading figure in the music of the city,
still living in the palace of Cardinal Ottoboni, the Cancelleria,
which he left the following year, as his health failed. Locatelli had a clear debf
to the tradition established by Corelli, but it has been doubted that he was
ever his pupil The possibility has been suggested that Locatelli studied with
the Florentine Giuseppe Valentini, presumed to have been a former pupil of
Corelli, a younger man, who, like Locatelli in later years, also included the
viola in the concertino of his concerti grossi of 17l0. It was with Valentini
that he travelled about this time. His career as a performer continued in Italy, with the
patronage of Cardinal Ottoboni and of the Habsburg Governor of Mantua, Prince
Philip of Hessen-Darmstadt, who had given Vivaldi the title of maestro di
cappella da camera, a position enjoyed largely in absentia. Similarly Locatelli
became virtuoso da camera to the Prince, suggesting a similar lack of
continuing obligation in Mantua, which he must, at
least, have visited for a time. Outside Italy he won an
increasing reputation for himself during visits to the Bavarian court and to Berlin, the second
in the entourage of the Elector of Saxony, August the Strong, employer of Vivaldi's
pupil Pisendel and Veracini in a distinguished musical establishment.
1729 Locatelli settled in Amsterdam, where he spent the
greater part of the rest of his life. Here, while continuing in his profession
as a performer, as occasion demanded, he gave his attention to music for gentleman
amateurs and to teaching. He collaborated with the important publisher Le Cene
and was granted a licence to publish his own chamber music. He enjoyed a
position of some importance in the cultural life of the city, while his library
is evidence of his own wide interests. His business activities included the
importation and sale of Italian violin strings, perhaps through the agency of
his mistress, widow of an Italian dealer in Amsterdam. As a
violinist he continued to amaze, if not always to delight, those who heard him,
as Vivaldi did in Venice. Evidence of his virtuosity is seen in the
remarkable L 'arte del violino, a set of twelve concerti with 24
Caprices, published in Amsterdam in 1733, the latter making technical demands
on the player comparable to those presented a hundred years later by Paganini
in his own Caprices. Like Corelli, his master, if not his teacher,
Locatelli wrote principally for strings, with the exception of his Opus 2
flute sonatas and one or two other works now lost.
Locatelli's XII Concerti grossi a 4
e a 5 con 12 fughe, Opus 1, were first published in 1721, to
be revised in Amsterdam in 1729. The twelve concerti grossi follow largely the
pattern established by Corelli in his influential and widely known concerti
grossi, familiar to visitors to Rome in the last quarter of the seventeenth
century, but published posthumously in 1714. The form established by Corelli
broadly followed the popular trio sonata, scored normally for two violins,
cello and harpsichord, organ or other chordal continuo. This was expanded into
a larger form in which the instruments of the trio sonata formed a concertino,
a small solo group, to be contrasted with the body of the string orchestra, the
concerto grosso or ripieno players. On occasions Corelli could muster a very
large orchestra, but his normal ensemble consisted of a dozen players,
including the solo group. Locatelli differs from Corelli in using one or two
violas in the solo group, a practice, as has been noted, followed by Valentini,
as it was later by Geminiani and in the revision of Corelli by Pepusch in England. The
additional concertino instrument allows more intricate counterpoint in fugal
movements and adds a certain fullness to the texture.
The first eight of the Concerti
grossi, Opus 1, are in the general form of the sonata or concerto da
chiesa, although the seventh adopts the three-movement form of the Venetian
concerto. The last four concerti are in the contrasted da camera form.
The distinction between church and chamber sonatas lies in the general practice
of alternating slow movements with fugal movements in the former, while the
latter is in the form of a dance suite. The forms used by Locatelli largely
echo those in the published work of Corelli, with the eighth of the set also a
Christmas concerto, ending with a pastoral movement, a Siciliano, suggesting
the shepherds at Bethlehem, a convention widely followed. The last four
concerti grossi of the set keep the general pattern of the German dance, the Allemanda
and the slow Sarabande, ending with a quicker dance movement, the
conventional Gigueor the less usual concluding Gavotte.
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LOCATELLI: Concerti Grossi, Op. 1, Nos. 1- 6