Pietro Antonio Locatelli was born in Bergamo on 3 September 1695 and died
in Amsterdam on 30 March 1764. He was the greatest violinist of his time.
He published ten works, or collections, and his opus 1 published in
Amsterdam in 1721 consists of twelve concerti grossi of which this
disc includes the first six. Each contain a Fugue.
He is a figure shrouded in a mystery which has wasted the time and energy
of musicologists. Did he ever study with Corelli? Locatelli was probably
the first composer to value the 'Cinderella' of the orchestra, the viola.
He wrote principally for strings with the exception of the Flute Sonatas
Op 2 published in 1732.
He led an interesting life as a virtuoso and had wide interests. He was not
a typical Italian baroque snob since he dedicated a lot of his time to amateur
musicians as did Vivaldi with the girls' school he supported. He was a
businessman specialising in instruments and their accessories. As with Paganini
a century later, his violin playing did not please everyone since it was
considered too phenominal to be human. There are fascinating stories, which
may be apochryphal, such as the song bird who died because he could not compete
with the beauty of Locatelli's ravishing playing.
Sadly, these performances lack energy and 'bounce'.
They are workmanlike enough but the sparkle is seldom there. This is such
a pity for it gives the impression that Locatelli was only an average composer.
This aside, for £4.99, you may consider it a bargain.
I remember the happy days when we used to perform these concerti with
great verve and so I was disappointed with this disc.
I wonder what this group would do with the more striking Locatelli scores
such as the Concerto Grosso in EFlat Op 4 No 6 known as Ariadne's