on 23 February 2011
Alessandro Marcello (1669-1747), the eldest of the Marcello brothers, was, unlike his better-known contempories Vivaldi and Albinoni, a member of the Venetian nobility. He was however a much less prolific composer than Benedetto (1686-1739), his younger brother who had around seven hundred compositions to his credit. Alessandro's keen interest in music resulted in a large personal collection of instruments, ranging from the traditional, e.g. crumhorns, to the most recent and fashionable inventions, e.g. a fortepiano made in Florence in 1724. Many of his concertos involve two oboes, although the best known is the concerto in D minor for solo oboe. Around 1738 a set of six concertos appeared from publication in Augsburg entitled "La cetra" ("The Lyre")in which the composer gave clear instructions as to the scoring with a total of fifteen instruments divided into six groups. The concertos adopt the three-movement pattern of the typical Venetian concerto and may date from well before their publication. The Concerto in B flat major, the final work on the disc, is not from a published collection and is a four-part ripieno, surviving in a Venetian manuscript showing some signs of revision. Simon Standage and Collegium Musicum 90, specialising in historical performances of baroque and classical repertoire, fully do justice to Marcello's music and I would recommend this CD to anyone with an interest in the Baroque and Venetian composers.