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IBO - Concerti Bizarri - Music for Several Instruments Blog

02 May 2016
Music for Several Instruments Blog
Dean Frey

You Won't Believe What They Sound Like

This new album from the Irish Baroque Orchestra, due to be released on June 10, 2016, is a lovely package of Baroque concertos, all but one of which are from north of the Alps. The music of the time is so full of melodic invention, instrumental colour and sophisticated musical effects, with so many opportunities to appeal to both sense and sensibility. Still, with thousands of albums of concertos quite like this out there, I'm sure it's hard to find a marketing hook for another one, even one with such appealing music.

The keynote of the album, I realized after my first listen, is instrumental colour. There are concertos here for these solo and group of solo instruments:

  • Flute and Oboe
  • 2 Violins and Bassoon
  • Oboe
  • 2 Cellos
  • 2 Oboes da caccia, 2 Violas, 2 Bassoons
  • Bassoon
  • Flute d'amore, Oboe d'amore and Viola d'amore


That's quite an interesting mix, and one that ensures you won't get bored with this programme. I was especially anxious to hear what the last piece, Graupner's Concerto for Flute d'amore, Oboe d'amore and Viola d'amore, would sound like. I'd call it lovely, if only so I could make a multi-lingual pun, as weak as it is. The three instruments all have a rich, earthy sound, which Graupner emphasizes by providing sensual, though hardly orgiastic, music.

But "Concerti Bizarri"? Though there are interesting instrumental combinations here, I'd stop well short of calling this music bizarre. This is music well on the Enlightenment Civilization side of the spectrum. The only thing bizarre about this album is the fabulous gargoyle on the album cover.

None of this really matters, though, does it? This is amazing music, by some of my favourite composers. I loved the Fasch, and the Vivaldi, and the Telemann; what fine composers they are! I'm a big fan of Monica Huggett's approach to this repertoire, and the Irish Baroque Orchestra can deliver a slight edge without losing any freshness and melodic appeal. The IBO soloists and players are all superb, providing the best possible advocacy for this unfamiliar music. Just sit back, admire that handsome lug of a gargoyle, and listen to the music.

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Irish Baroque OrchestraIrish Baroque Orchestra
Monica HuggettMonica Huggett
Peter WhelanPeter Whelan
Concerti BizarriConcerti Bizarri