Friday, 27 October 2017

Grandissima Gravita - Podger, Brecon Baroque

Rating: 5/5

Terrific stuff

This is a disc of very fine Baroque violin sonatas played by the great Rachel Podger with three other outstanding musicians who excel in this period.  Hands up all those who will be surprised if I say it's brilliant…no, I thought not.

The sonatas are all fine works by Vivaldi, Tartini, Pisendel and Veracini.  It's a lovely, varied selection and the continuo ensemble of cello, harpsichord and lute give a fabulous sound.  It's a very good idea to have these different composers together in the same programme; the overall effect is extremely pleasing and it never gets at all samey.

The four musicians here play fabulously, both as individual virtuosi and as an ensemble.  They have an obvious delight in the music and in playing together which gives the disc a rather joyous feel quite a lot of the time.  There is also plenty of depth here and the music is played as though it really means something – by no means always the case with Baroque releases.  The whole thing is a pleasure from beginning to end.

The recorded sound by Channel Classics is very good and the disc is nicely presented, but I have to say that I'm not keen on the whimsical "notes" in the form of an imagined discussion in heaven between the four composers.  It's a bit toe-curling and not very informative about the music; a release of this quality deserves better, I think.  However, it's the music which counts and it's terrific.  Warmly recommended.

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