The concerto grosso is a Baroque concept and form, wherein a small group of soloists (the concertino) is pitted against a larger ensemble (the ripieno), and the alternations of material between these groups give the music its feeling of virtuosity and mounting excitement. This 2015 album by the Knights presents five pieces styled on the concerto grosso scheme, and the most authentic example is J.S. Bach's Concerto for violin and oboe, a model for many composers exploring concertante ideas. Two works that take Bach as a jumping off point are Steve Reich's minimalist Duet for two violins and strings, and Igor Stravinsky's neo-classical "Dumbarton Oaks" Concerto, which invokes Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. Taking the concerto grosso idea further afield, Colin Jacobsen and Siamak Aghei present their Concerto for santur (a trapezoidal hammered dulcimer), violin, and orchestra, and the group-composed work, ...the ground beneath our feet, which includes the song, "Fade Away," sung by vocalist Christina Courtin. The program has an eclectic feeling, due to its even mix of classical, modern, international, and folk elements, and this may be an attraction or a hindrance. Fans of crossover music will enjoy the Knights' fluidity between different kinds of music, and the ease of their exchanges gives the album a feeling of spontaneity and freshness. However, strictly classical listeners may appreciate the Bach and Stravinsky more readily than the other less predictably structured pieces.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Concerto for violin & oboe in C minor, BWV 1060R|
|Concerto in E flat major "Dumbarton Oaks"|
|Concerto for santur, violin & orchestra|