Friday, May 27, 2011

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra - A Baroque Feast

 


 

 

 

 

Review:

Even people who don't normally listen to classical music seem to love the singable melodies and effervescent rhythms that characterize much of the Baroque orchestral repertoire. Certain works have become favorites of television commercial and film producers, and chamber orchestras everywhere endlessly program selections from Handel's Water Music, Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Albinoni's Adagio, and various works by Purcell, Locatelli, and Marcello--along with that dreadful and highly overrated "canon" by that guy whose name begins with "P". Most of these composers (thankfully not Pachelbel) are Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra represented here, on this perfectly fine if just a little too-familiar program that features Handel's Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Purcell's Suite from Abdelazar, and Vivaldi's A minor concerto for two violins Op. 3 No. 8. To the producers' credit, the disc also includes some less-commonly-heard selections such as Handel's lovely Concerto for harp in B-flat major and Marcello's Oboe concerto in D minor. We're also treated to the richly scored, melodically engaging Op. 1 No. 8 Concerto grosso in F minor by Locatelli and to a lovely Sinfonia by Bach (from his Cantata No. 42). Overall, the program has a musical coherence and a pleasing sonic quality that encourages easy and pleasant listening.

Of course, the Toronto-based Tafelmusik, one of North America's two or three top-rank period-style orchestras, delivers these Baroque staples with interpretive authority and impressive yet thankfully unadorned technique, giving careful attention to line in the slow movements and keeping rhythms and articulation crisp in the fast ones. The solo playing is first-rate (particularly the harp and oboe), and the sound gives desirable presence and clarity to the varied instrumental configurations. If you're looking for a very well-played, intelligently programmed recording of attractive Baroque orchestral music, look no further.--David Vernier

 

flac, scans

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