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The Avison Ensemble - Corelli: Opus 6 - Early Music Review


01 February 2013
Early Music Review

The Avison Ensemble's mini-series at Kings Place ‘Corelli at Christmas' included a programme that contrasted three of Corelli's Opus 6 Concerti Grossi with works by Handel, Vivaldi and Scarlatti, soprano Rebecca Bottone joining the group for the Vivaldi and Scarlatti pieces (29 Dec.) The Corelli concertos were given vivid and enthralling performances, exposing their roots in the multi-sectional Stylus Phantasticus style of the mid-17th century. Handel's own Opus 6, a clear homage to Corelli, was represented by No 11 in A, with its slightly scary feeling opening Andante larghetto, e staccato. Handel's curious Sonata a 5 (HWV288) may have been written for Corelli, and owes more than a nod to Vivaldi's music, notably in the unison figuration. It is more of a violin concerto than a sonata, and allowed Pavlo Beznosiuk plenty of opportunity to add elaborations. Rebecca Bottone has received many very positive reviews from me over the past ten years. Vivaldi's Salve Regina (RV617, the earliest of four settings) is not his finest work, but Scarlatti's Cantata Pastorale ‘Per la Nascita di Nostro Signore' was a different matter, and was very well portrayed by Rebecca Bottone. One of the most attractive moments came just after the recitative line ‘l'appassionato amore' with the gentle aria L'autor d'ogni mio bene, with its wide-spaced vocal line and accompanying instruments of violin and viola (giving me a very rare chance to praise a viola player, in this case Rachel Byrt). The final aria Tocco la prima was more of a bucolic dance than a pastorale as the protagonist encourages the shepherds to abandon their flocks. As well as Rachel Byrt, other notable contributions came from violinists Pavlo Beznosiuk and Caroline Balding, Richard Tunnicliffe, cello, and Paula Chateauneuf, archlute (but not mentioned in the programme).
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Related Links

The Avison EnsembleThe Avison Ensemble
Arcangelo Corelli Opus 6: Concerti GrossiArcangelo Corelli Opus 6: Concerti Grossi
Arcangelo Corelli: Opus 5: Violin SonatasArcangelo Corelli: Opus 5: Violin Sonatas