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Pietro Antonio LOCATELLI (1695-1764)
24 Capriccios for Solo Violin
Igor Ruhadze (violin)
rec. Westverskerk 90, Schiedam, The Netherlands, January-May 2013.
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94774 [98:40]

This is Volume 5 from Brilliant Classics’ 'Complete Locatelli Edition', originally released in a 21 CD box set (94358). In the previous four volumes Igor Ruhadze led his Ensemble, Violini Capricciosi, with great aplomb. Here he has the chance to impress as a solo artist. The 24 Capriccios are recorded as an addition to the twelve violin concertos released in Volume 3 (94469) of the series. See also reviews of Vol.4 and a piece on the Op. 3 set.

These Capriccios, twenty-four in all, are part of Locatelli’s Op. 3 L’arte del violin of 1733. They take the form of written-out cadenzas for the outer movements of the concertos in which soloists are to show their skill. It was these Capriccios, with their use of the highest register of the instrument and break-neck speeds through which the L’arte del violin gained its fame. They represent some of the most challenging and difficult works of all the baroque violin repertoire. Whilst there is no direct link, the more I listen to these extraordinary pieces, the more I find a correlation between them and the more famous Capriccios composed between 1802 and 1817 by Niccolò Paganini. He must have known and been influenced by the Locatelli works in his own compositions. This is also the assertion of the brief but informative booklet notes.

Before this recording I only knew Henryk Szeryng’s famous recording of No. 23 The Labyrinth. While I enjoy that recording, the addition of Charles Reiner on piano seems superfluous (Mercury 434351). This in itself is confusing as he seems to be performing No. 5. Ruhadze’s performance is good if not consistent. He certainly hits all the high notes and ramps up the speed when needed. On occasion though he can sound a bit rough around the edges; thankfully not enough to stop the enjoyment of the music. What’s more, he sounds as if he is enjoying playing these pieces, which after all is what the listener surely wants from the performer. The recorded sound is good and the addition of the two extra Capriccios is interesting.

Stuart Sillitoe

Contents List
 
CD 1 [48:07]
Capriccio No. 1 in D Major
Capriccio No. 2 in D Major
Capriccio No. 3 in C Minor
Capriccio No. 4 in C Minor
Capriccio No. 5 in F Major
Capriccio No. 6 in F Major
Capriccio No. 7 in E Major
Capriccio No. 8 in E Major
Capriccio No. 9 in C Major
Capriccio No. 10 in C Major
Capriccio No. 11 in G Minor
Capriccio No. 12 in G Minor
CD 2 [50:33]
Capriccio No. 13 in B-Flat Major
Capriccio No. 14 in B-Flat Major
Capriccio No. 15 in E Minor
Capriccio No. 16 in E Minor
Capriccio No. 17 in G Major
Capriccio No. 18 in G Major
Capriccio No. 19 in F Major
Capriccio No. 20 in F Major
Capriccio No. 21 in A Major
Capriccio No. 22 in A Major
Capriccio No. 23 in D Major “Il labirinto armonico”
Capriccio No. 24 in D Major “Il labirinto armonico”
Capriccio from Concerto in A Major
Capriccio “prova dell’intonazione” (from Sonata Op. 6 No. 12)

 

 



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