Sunday, May 8, 2011

Geminiani - Concerti Grossi - Jeanne Lamon, Tafelmusik







It is all too easy to pigeon-hole composers. Geminiani, forever associated with Corelli by his violin playing and his concerto transcriptions of his teacher's Op. 5, merits reconsideration. His beautifully crafted music, originally published in London in the late 1720s and early 1730s, is more modern, more bourgeois and certainly less self-conscious than Corelli's, with its appealing tunes, gentle syncopation and disarming twists of harmony. Because he reissued his Opp. 2 and 3 with ornamentation—more than 20 years on—we know at least how he came to wish them to be performed. He was Handel's contemporary in London and, though Geminiani was inevitably in the greater man's shadow, being neither as Francesco Geminiani. inspired a composer nor so prolific, the two are known to have entertained mutual respect.
Tafelmusik have taken Geminiani's Concerti grossi very seriously and the result is sparkling. Jeanne Lamon, the leader of Tafelmusik, gets it just right: brilliance with a soft edge. From the dramatic beginning of the Op. 2 No. 3, to the nicely understated finale of Geminiani's transcription of Corelli's Op. 5 No. 5, they play with tremendous verve and precision but seemingly without pretension. The tempos are on the whole beautifully judged and the range of articulation is impressively employed. The sound is realistic—clear yet nicely rounded—for which the engineers are to be warmly congratulated.


flac, scans

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