Mauro Valli / Ottavio Dantone / Accademia Bizantina

Alessandro Scarlatti: Concerti Grossi; Cello Sonatas

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The Accademia Bizantina under conductor and keyboardist Ottavio Dantone is one of a number of young Italian historical-instrument groups that have been revolutionizing the world of Baroque instrumental music performance. The basic idea of the style of this group and its compatriots is that the dominant genre and stylistic exemplar of Italian music in the early 18th century was opera, and that instrumental music ought to reflect the sense of high drama that an operatic audience would have expected. This release offers an excellent specimen of its style, but the wrinkle this time around is that the repertory involved is of an earlier type than the High Baroque Vivaldi type of concerto in which this sort of playing is usually heard. The concerti grossi of Alessandro Scarlatti, though not published until 1740, date from well before then (Scarlatti died in 1725), probably between 1710 and 1720. Both these and the three sonatas for cello and continuo are of the Corelli sonata da chiesa or church sonata type, with (for the most part) an introductory slow movement, a fugal Allegro, another slow movement, and a gracious dance finale. There is nothing particularly operatic about these movement structures, but what's interesting is how well Dantone's approach works with them anyhow. The fugues are fast, intense, and dramatic, with wide dynamic range gaining momentum toward a climax. Perhaps the most satisfying of all are the cello sonatas under the care of Baroque cellist Mauro Valli, you get the feeling in the slow movements that you're hearing the Baroque cello, still an acquired taste for many listeners, take on its proper sound as its bendable tones connect with highly expressive lines. An excellent release, despite a booklet that commits crimes against both typography and literary style.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Concerto No. 1 in F minor
1 01:36 Amazon
2 01:39 Amazon
3 03:15 Amazon
4 01:15 Amazon
Concerto No. 2 in C minor
5 02:38 Amazon
6 02:43 Amazon
7 01:28 Amazon
Concerto No. 3 in F major
8 00:45 Amazon
9 01:09 Amazon
10 02:00 Amazon
11 01:34 Amazon
12 02:29 Amazon
Concerto No. 4 in Gminor
13 02:09 Amazon
14 01:59 Amazon
15 02:14 Amazon
Concerto No. 5 in D minor
16 01:54 Amazon
17 01:04 Amazon
18 00:51 Amazon
19 01:43 Amazon
Concerto No. 6 in E major
20 01:10 Amazon
21 01:57 Amazon
22 01:31 Amazon
23 03:44 Amazon
Cello Sonata No. 1 in D minor
24 02:49 Amazon
25 01:56 Amazon
26 01:06 Amazon
27 01:50 Amazon
Cello Sonata No. 2 in C minor
28 01:47 Amazon
29 01:40 Amazon
30 01:30 Amazon
31 00:45 Amazon
Cello Sonata No. 3 in C major
32 02:45 Amazon
33 01:27 Amazon
34 01:39 Amazon
35 01:34 Amazon
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