Harmonia Mundi's Geminiani: Concerti Grossi VII-XII (after Corelli, Op. 5) is a single disc excerpted from a larger set issued in 1999 including all of Geminiani's concerti based on models of Corelli. That set was, and is, something of an expensive proposition, but certainly a first-class choice for the music of Geminiani, for the way the Academy of Ancient Music sounds under the direction of Andrew Manze and as representative of late English Baroque music as a whole. This disc is a single-disc condensation drawn from the earlier set that comes, as an added bonus, with a thick catalog of Harmonia Mundi's active releases, and the asking price is modest. Naturally, Harmonia has not neglected to include Manze's top-drawer performance of Geminiani's Concerto XII in D minor, "La Follia," rightly one of the most celebrated of Manze's recordings with the Academy of Ancient Music and already anthologized by Harmonia on a couple of occasions.
Harmonia Mundi puts together single-disc collections like these in order to attract interest in its larger sets; back in 1997 the label put out a similar one for Romanesca's trendsetting recordings of the Biber violin sonatas, also featuring Manze. They tend not to stay on the shelf very long -- not in the stores, and likely not in one's home once the plunge is taken. Even if the listener, in the end, decides not to go for the whole enchilada, this collection of Geminianian hors d'oeurves is an excellent value. Harmonia Mundi's Geminiani: Concerti Grossi VII-XII (after Corelli, Op. 5) should not be passed up by fanciers of Baroque music, particularly those who may have missed them the first time.