Various Artists


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Largo, a collection of slow music from Naxos, might be considered just another offering in the vast sea of tranquil relaxation albums were it not for its many fine points. The material is consistent, all drawn from the Baroque era with generous presentations of Bach, Handel, Telemann, and Vivaldi evenly spread over its 75-minute duration. The pieces -- predominantly Largo movements extracted from concertos for various instruments -- are tastefully performed without the inflated romanticism or the lush sentimentality frequently passed off on other Baroque compilations. Capella Istropolitana and Camerata Cassovia are among the fine ensembles providing subtle, understated accompaniment to the many superb soloists. Outstanding among them are the violin duo Anna and Quido Hölbling, who are featured in the three Corelli selections, and violinist Takako Nishizaki, whose lustrous tone in the Bach and Vivaldi selections is most memorable. Other soloists, such as oboists Jozef Cejka, József Kiss, and Gabriela Krcková; pianist Hae-won Chang; and flutist Jirí Stivín, to name only a few, represent the wide roster of excellent musicians Naxos has signed, and they all lend their honed skills to this commendable effort. The recorded sound is quite even and resonant throughout, providing an enjoyable listening experience without any need for volume adjustments.

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