DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Concierto Barroco (2013)

A pleasant video concert of unusual early Baroque works by a sextet.

Published on December 26, 2013

Concierto Barroco (2013)

Concierto Barroco (2013)

Performers: La Ritirata (sextet) cond. by Josetxu Obregón
Program: Folias echa para mi Senora Dona Tarolilla de Carallenos L’eroica. Corrente detta L’Auellina. Corriente dicha la Cuella. Il Spiritillo Brando. Brando dicho el Melo (ANDREA FALCONIERI). Canzon quinta a tre due soprani e basso (BARTOLOME DE SELMA Y SALAVERDE). Sonata para flauta y continuo TWV41:C5 (GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN). Sonata for cello and bass RV43 (ANTONIO VIVALDI). Sonata XII del libro II para 2 sopranos bajo obligado y BC (DARIO CASTELLO). Sonata en re menor para flauta y continuo (JACQUES PAISIBLE). Battaglia de Barabaso Yerno de Satanss (ANDREA FALCONIERI. Interview with Josetxu Obregon. Passacaglia (ANDREA FALCONIERI)
Studio: EM/Cantus CV 1210 [Distr. by Allegro] (11/12/13)
Video: 16:9 color
Audio: PCM stereo
Subtitles: English
Length: 1 hr. 21 min.
Rating: ****

This Italian ensemble has the same name as a novel by Alejo Carpentier which was made into a feature film in 1982. Though the name “Baroque Concert” may bring up ideas of the music of Telemann, Bach, Handel and so forth, the thrust of this group—while they do include some of the above—is to tell the story of the beginnings of the stylistic revolution of the Baroque between 1600 and 1700. They focus on composers like Falconiere, Salaverde, and Castello, who each contributed to the freer and more modern style.

For some of the selections the sextet is reduced to three musicians. The recorder player is excellent, and the guitarist plays a Baroque guitar, but the violin and cello look like modern instruments. There is a long-necked lute and a single manual harpsichord. The video recording was made in May 2011 in a small Baroque theater at the famous El Escorial in Spain, originally built for the pleasure of the Court.

It delves into the 18th century as well, with works by Vivaldi and Telemann. They are less-frequently heard selections, but sounding more familiar than the other composers. The dances by Falconieri were for me the hit of the concert, full of the sort of wilder, colorful feeling of many Scarlatti sonatas. Also the final selection on the program: his battle music, which creates the same at-the-time acceptable uproar of most of the period’s battle musics. It attempts to mimic the sounds of combat, though there are no cannons in this one. The tempi are often break-neck fast, as is the fashion of some of contemporary Vivaldi-performing ensembles.

The note booklet is in both Italian and English and has details about the lives of each of the composers and the intentions of the ensemble itself. The videotaping is fairly straightforward, and a shot at the beginning show what a small theater this actually is. The package says “PAL” but it played perfectly on my NTSC DVD deck.

—John Sunier




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