La Serenissima / Adrian Chandler

The Italian Job

(CD - Avie #AV 2371)

Review by James Manheim

The English, historical-instrument, Baroque ensemble La Serenissima (the term was a nickname for the city of Venice) has specialized in somewhat scholarly recordings that nevertheless retain considerable general appeal, and the group does it again with this release. The program offers some lesser-known composers, and some lesser-known pieces by famous composers like the tiny and fascinating Concerto alla rustica for two oboes, bassoon, strings, and continuo, RV 151. What ties the program together formally is that it covers a range of Italian cities that were becoming cultural centers as they declined in political power: not only Venice (Vivaldi, Albinoni, Caldara), but also Padua (Tartini), Bologna (Torelli), and Rome (Corelli). There are several works by composers known only for one or two big hits, and these are especially rewarding. Sample the opening movement of Tartini's Violin Concerto E major, DS 51, with its unusual phrase construction and daringly chromatic cadenza passage: it has the exotic quality for which Tartini became famous, but it does not rely on sheer virtuosity. That work is played by leader Adrian Chandler himself, but he also chooses pieces for a large variety of other solo instruments: the Italian Baroque was about more than the violin. Each work on the album has something to recommend it, and collectively the performances may make up the best album of 2017 whose booklet includes footnotes.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Sinfonia in C for 2 Oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets, timpani, violin, strings & continuo
1 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 05:31 Amazon
2 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 04:47 Amazon
3 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 04:42 Amazon
Sinfonia to Santa Beatrice d'Este in D minor for strings & continuo
4 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 02:35 Amazon
5 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 01:41 Amazon
6 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 00:44 Amazon
7 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 02:56 Amazon
8 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 02:13 Amazon
Concerto in E D51 for violin, strings & continuo
9 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 06:39 Amazon
10 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 05:29 Amazon
11 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 04:40 Amazon
Concerto Alla rustica in G RV 151 for 2 Oboes, bassoon, strings & continuo
12 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 01:10 Amazon
13 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 01:07 Amazon
14 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 01:58 Amazon
Concerto in C RV 467 for bassoon, strings & continuo
15 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 04:08 Amazon
16 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 02:54 Amazon
17 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 04:08 Amazon
Concerto in F Op. 9/3 for 2 Oboes, Strings & continuo
18 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 04:37 Amazon
19 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 02:31 Amazon
20 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 03:58 Amazon
Sinfonia in C G33 for 4 trumpets, trombone, timpani, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 violins, 2 cellos, strings & continuo
21 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 03:49 Amazon
22 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 00:25 Amazon
23 Adrian Chandler / La Serenissima 03:30 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick