Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Rare Fruits Council - Leclair-Locatelli - L'ange et le diable

The Rare Fruits Council - Leclair-Locatelli - L'ange et le diable
Strings | Eac, flac, cue | log, cover | 1 CD, 346 MB
January 8, 2002 | Astree | RapidShare

Forget the confusing and contradictory liner notes and the somewhat shaky pretense for including the works of these two 18th-century violin-virtuoso/composers on the same program, and just enjoy the irresistibly entertaining music and impressive performances. The disc's title--"the angel and the devil"--refers to the presumed comments of a court jester who supposedly heard Leclair and Locatelli perform together at the court of Kassel in 1728: "The one [Leclair] plays like an angel, and that one [Locatelli] like a devil." But it's questionable that this meeting ever happened--the published account of the jester's quote didn't appear until decades after the fact--and although these two musicians were almost exact contemporaries (both died in the same year, 1764), lived most of their professional lives in northern Europe, and wrote important works for the violin while also being famed for their phenomenal playing, there was no celebrated rivalry or other personal or artistic interaction during their lifetime.
No question, any violinist who presumes to tackle any of these sonatas--by either devil or angel--had better be in top form, a virtually fearless technician and consummate showman (or woman). Manfredo Kraemer certainly is in top form and manages to dispatch these pieces with rare technical polish, and he's accompanied by top-notch partners whose sense of style complements his own interpretive brilliance. This is music-making of the highest order, from the ideally balanced ensemble interplay to the refined, at times "unearthly" (the central section of Locatelli's C major sonata) solo performances. Although these pieces demand virtuoso skills equal to any other of the more highly respected works of Bach or Paganini, they have not obtained the favor that they deserve from today's more accomplished violinists (Mela Tenenbaum's performances of sonatas by Locatelli and Leclair for Essay are a notable exception). Kraemer makes the case for each sonata as a worthy repertoire staple--but also leaves you in awe of the soloist's art and of these composers' imagination and skill in writing for this at once diabolical and heavenly instrument. The sound, from Belgium's Church of Jauchelette, is exemplary. [4/13/2002]--David Vernier

Manfredo Kraemer

The Rare Fruits Council
Created in 1997, The Rare Fruits Council has awakened the enthusiasm of the public and obtained superlative praise in critical comments all over the world: "Their music flows like a waterfall", "bursts out like firework", "boundless and bold talent of its members", "carried away by real and wild frenzy", "infinite expressiveness" are some of the qualifying adjectives and phrases that have described the performances of the group. They have played -in diverse formations- in all European countries, Asia, South and North America, and other labels, and are among the most sought after performers in the present-day European baroque scene.
The groups outstanding recording of H.I.F. Bibers cycle of suites Harmonia Artificioso-Ariosa, which was awarded a Diapason d'Or of the French critical press and the Grand Prix de l'Academie du Disque, was acclaimed unanimously by the international press as the reference-recording of this work. The name of the ensemble, an allusion to the florid, naturalistic titles of many music editions of the baroque period, also suggests an aesthetic purpose: To discover the familiar under an exotic garment, as in the riddle, or as in art, to turn into something different an already known and attractive object. To interpret the never before as if it had always been, and the always as if never ever before.

CD Content
Leclair - Overture in a Major No 3 Opus 13
Locatelli - Sonata in C Major No 4 Opus 8
Leclair - Sonata for Two Violins Without Continuo No 6 Opus 12 in B Flat
Locatelli - Sonata for Two Violins and Continuo in a Major No 7 Opus 8
Leclair - Sonata in E Minor No 1 Opus 2

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