Reviewer: Mark Pullinger
When the first disc of concertos appeared
in this series (reviewed in November 2010), I expressed a sincere hope
that Sergio Azzolini was to be our guide through the
remaining discs from Naïve. It seems that wish has been granted with this
second volume from the same artists".
" Every note of praise for Azzolini’s first volume of
concertos is echoed here. The performances are very much in the modern
Italian manner: period instruments played with gusto, a terrific sense of
attack pervading outer movements. Azzolini burbles and rasps away merrily,
yet there’s poetry aplenty in slow movements, where he displays an
unsurpassed palette of tonal colour. L’Aura Soave Cremona, directed from
either the theorbo, Baroque guitar, archlute or calichon (a six-course lute)
by Diego Cantalupi, offers lusty support. Strings and strummed continuo are
augmented by either harpsichord or chamber organ, neither used dogmatically,
so that occasionally the organ is used in outer movements, such as RV470.
Their aggressive style, familiar to followers of Il Giardino Armonico, may
not be to all tastes, but I thrill to such exhilarating performances".
" There is simply no sense of routine or formula about
these seven concertos or their performances. Vivaldi offers a brilliant,
fiery Presto opening to RV483 in E minor, followed by a tender
Larghetto, with exquisite pianissimo playing from Azzolini.
L’Aura Soave Cremona is emphatic in its approach: pungent, earthy playing
with percussive col legno slaps in the finales of RV496 and 472, for
example, with a naughty harpsichord glissando added to the latter.
"Michael Talbot contributes excellent booklet
notes and Denis Rouvre’s cover photo continues the distinctive, quirky
sequence. The recording is on the close side, but with plenty of air around
the instruments. One delightful side effect of the acoustic of the Brescian
Church of the Madonna della Formigola is that distant birds are caught
tweeting their approval between movements. I add mine and cannot imagine
these concertos better played, with such infectious exuberance. I can hardly
wait for Azzolini and his colleagues to continue their