Bell'arte Salzburg

Concerti d'Amore

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The chief attraction here is the diverse set of historical instruments employed in these concerti d'amore. The viola d'amore is a violin-like instrument with sympathetic strings that were occasionally brilliantly exploited before the instrument fell into disuse; the Vivaldi Concerto for viola d'amore and strings, RV 397, played here is an example. Still rarer are the oboe d'amore, a slightly larger and richer-sounding predecessor of the modern oboe, and especially the chalumeau, a sort of recorder with a clarinet mouthpiece. These instruments are brought together in various combinations in works by Telemann and the growing-in-popularity Christoph Graupner: two concertos using the Italian concerto grosso principle with a small group in opposition to the strings and a French overture (or suite) by Graupner. The playing by the historical-instrument group Bell'Arte Salzburg is not especially crisp, and a studio at Berlin's Siemensvilla delivers unspectacular sound, but the basic repertoire is worthwhile: the unusual sonorities here are combined using various techniques, and the two Graupner pieces, both world premieres on recordings, help fill out the context in which Telemann created not only multiple-instrument works of this kind but also the entire colorful aspect of his oeuvre. The extensive and informative booklet notes, in German and English, are a major plus in attracting buyers to a recording oriented toward those with a specialist interest in the German High Baroque.

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