Virtuosity, showy improvisation and stratospherically high violin playing are the characteristics of Baroque composer Pietro Antonio Locatelli’s theatrical concerti grossi for soloists and ripieno. While concerti grossi from this time could usually be divided into two types, ‘da camera’ and ‘da chiesa’ – with the former containing more dance movements – Locatelli went down his own distinct path, creating a new model more like that of Torelli. His ripieno section was larger than the traditional accompanying group, and his slow movements contained drawn-out notes over which the first violinist or harpsichordist was free to improvise. Indeed, one harpsichord passage in Op.7 is so extraordinarily virtuosic that Locatelli labelled it ‘ad libitum’, presumably to avoid frightening the amateur musician.
Only the most consummate and accomplished musicians can perform works of this calibre. Igor Ruhadze and his ensemble Violini Capricciosi have spent years recording Locatelli’s works, having previously released his violin concertos and trio sonatas, described by Gramophone magazine as ‘brilliantly and at times breathtakingly performed’. They bring their expertise to this release once more, with a tight and supple ripieno section supporting the sumptuous, virtuosic solo playing.
The Concerto Grosso is a popular Baroque form, in which two instrumental groups complete against each other: a small group of soloists and the tutti of the orchestral group. It is the forerunner of the solo concerto form, which features only one solo instrument.
This set present the complete Concerti Grossi by Pietro Antonio Locatelli, modelled on the popular concerti grossi of his teacher Corelli. The writing, as might be expected from Locatelli the devil violinist, is highly virtuosic and brilliant, inventive in harmony and counterpoint, written to impress and entertain.
This set is part of the Locatelli Edition, the complete works by Locatelli, as performed by Igor Ruhadze and his early music band Violini Capricciosi, playing with great gusto, zest and dazzling virtuosity.
Recorded in The Netherlands in 2013 & 2014.
Contains notes on the composer.
Contains a biography of the performers.