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Tomaso ALBINONI (1671-1751)
Concerto in B flat major, Op. 10, No. 1 [6:34]
Concerto in G minor, Op. 10, No. 2 [10:00]
Concerto in C major, Op. 10, No. 3 [8:11]
Concerto in A major, Op. 10, No. 5 [8:15]
Concerto in F major, Op. 10, No. 7 [9:03]
Concerto in G minor, Op. 10, No. 8 [9:25]
Concerto in C minor, Op. 10, No. 11 [7:17]
Concerto in B flat major, Op. 10, No. 12 [9:48]
Collegium Musicum 90/Simon Standage
rec. St. Jude-on-the-Hill, London, November 2007. DDD
CHANDOS CHAN 0769 [69:15]

Experience Classicsonline

This is a fine recording of some very fine music. It should go some way towards restoring the reputation of Tomaso Albinoni.

A slightly older contemporary of Vivaldi, and also a native of Venice, Albinoni never scaled the same heights of fame as the Red Priest, either during his lifetime or afterwards. He never held posts at any of Venice’s churches or ospedali, and lived mainly off the proceeds of his father’s paper business. His final statement on the concerto form, the Op. 10 collection of 1735-36, was financed by (and dedicated to) the Marquis of Castelar, Don Luca Fernando Patino, hence this CD’s title, ‘Homage to a Spanish Grandee’.

Other than the dedication, there is very little that is recognisably ‘Spanish’ about the eight concertos featured, except in the first movement of No. 11 [track 19], with its foot-stamping flamenco-inspired rhythms. As the sleeve-notes suggest, the Op. 10 concertos are something of an odd set when compared to Albinoni’s more celebrated Op. 9 collection of 1722. Simple and unfussy in style, they are noticeably out of step with the contemporary concertos of Vivaldi, Locatelli and Tartini by omitting show-stopping solos for the principal violin. In fact, only the eighth and twelfth concertos contain more than occasional solo writing for violin.

But this hardly matters to modern listeners, and even makes a refreshing change. All nine concertos on the recording bristle with dynamism. The outer works – concertos 1 and 12 – frame the collection with unbounded energy. No. 7 is reminiscent of the comic operatic intermezzi which began to emerge in Venice at this time. There are quieter, reflective moments too. The central movement of the fifth concerto is unusually marked ‘sempre piano’ and evokes the wave-lapping motions of Venetian gondolas.

The playing of Collegium Musicum 90 on strictly authentic instruments is practically flawless. Simon Standage does a good job of directing the orchestra without attempting to hog the limelight as principal violinist. The sound quality, too, is first rate, with a clear but warm tone, and each instrument clearly audible throughout.

John-Pierre Joyce