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Charles AVISON (1709-1770)
12 Concerti Grossi (1744) after Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757)
CD 1

Concerto No.1 in A [12:15]
Concerto No.2 in G [15:19]
Concerto No.3 in D minor [10:17]
Concerto No.4 in A minor [16:08]
Concerto No.5 in D minor [10:36]
Concerto No.6 in D [13:26]
CD 2

Concerto No.7 in G minor [11:33]
Concerto No.8 in G minor [9:57]
Concerto No.9 in C [13:11]
Concerto No.10 in D [7:21]
Concerto No.11 in G [17:43]
Concerto No.12 in D [16:06]
The Avison Ensemble/Pavlo Beznosiuk
rec. Jubilee Theatre, St Nicholas’ Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, 26-30 November 2007
[78:14 + 76:38]


Experience Classicsonline

A review of this thoroughly enjoyable and technically first class recording of the Twelve Concerti Grossi has already appeared on this site, written by Brian Wilson. He went into some detail regarding the origin of the work and also relating the provenance of the movements derived from Scarlatti. As he says, Divine Art makes all this crystal clear in its booklet notes, fine ones by the way, as is by now usual.

I’m going to concentrate instead on the many virtues of both music and performance and to recommend once again this fast rising ensemble. Beznosiuk has been a leading original instrument practitioner for a good long while now and his experience in the repertory and his direction of The Avison Ensemble is evident at every turn.

Each Concerto Grosso is cast in four movements, of the standard slow-fast-slow-fast kind. From the A major, which starts the set one is aware of the lithe sonority cultivated by the ensemble, of the interplay between the strings and the two violin concertino and of the well balanced weight throughout – the orchestra is 6-2-2-1 with the harpsichord played by Roger Hamilton. There is also warmth, as one can feel in the Amoroso of the same A major work. Where definition is required it duly appears, as in the etched bass line of the Allegro of No.2 and where Avison asks for spiritoso, as he does in the Allegro second movement of the D minor [No.3] we find the ensemble more than happy to meet the request.

The Allegro of No.4 in A minor fizzes by – it’s taken from the sonata Kk3 – and is laced with the kind of wit that Beznosiuk so readily finds in the music.  The ensuing Largo is stately – Avison is good at touches of pomposo – whereas the opening Largo of No.5 is quite dramatic. Michael Nyman should get his hands on it. These kinds of pleasures and virtues abound in this two CD set. The wistfully withdrawn Siciliana of No.9 and the affecting Andante moderato of No.11 in G major are equally supple and delightful. And note too the daring dynamics cultivated by Beznosiuk and the ensemble in the finale of No.12 or the exciting and biting verve cultivated in the same Concerto Grosso’s second movement.

In short this is another fine exploration of Avison’s under explored legacy. The ensemble that bears his name does him further honour in this excellently recorded survey.

Jonathan Woolf

see also Review by Brian Wilson





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