When considering Baroque concertos for multiple instruments -- particularly violins -- Vivaldi is certainly the name that comes most quickly to mind. This album proves, however, that many composers were writing for this medium and doing a magnificent job of it. Despite conductor Reinhard Goebel's stated trepidation about the success of concertos for four of the same instruments, he and the Musica Antiqua Köln prove to listeners that not only is the genre successful but utterly captivating. In the five concertos heard here, which are really more like transitional forms between the concerto grosso and what we now think of as a concerto, it is virtually impossible for four violins to achieve equal prominence over the orchestra. The most independence the quartet of soloists can hope to achieve is an active role in energetic fugatos. But the independence of the instruments seems scarcely the point. What is most engaging about these works is the interplay between melody and the many complex layers of harmony and accompaniment. All of this is brought to fruition by truly remarkable, intense, and meticulous playing by every musician on the album. From the fiendishly active continuo playing to the present but not overbearing harpsichord, every detail of these performances is finely tuned music-making it its very best.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Concerto for 4 violins, strings & continuo|
|Concerto for 4 violins in G minor, Op. 4/12|
|Concerto No. 11 for 4 violins in A minor, Op. 7/11|
|Concerto Grosso in F major, Op. 4/12|
|Concerto for 4 violin & continuo in D|