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This review is from: Venice By Night - Albinoni, Lotti, Pollarolo, Porta, Veracini, Vivaldi (Audio CD)
There is no shortage of excellent British groups specialising in baroque music but La Serenissima is among the very best of them. I came properly to grips with them only recently when driving through fog and rain to Glasgow one Saturday morning. When Classic FM played Albinoni's Sinfonia in G minor I nearly ran off the motorway with the sheer joy of the radiant playing. The musicality and warmth of the playing here matches the crisply articulated sonorities of their persuasively baroque sound. With contributions from the bright-toned Mhairi Lawson (soprano), Simon Munday (trumpet) and Peter Whelan (bassoon) this is a thoughtfully programmed disc, with varied orchestral textures constantly delighting the ear. Violin concertos alternate with bassoon concertos and trumpet concertos, which in turn are interspersed with vocal glories, sometimes accompanied by continuo and strings, sometimes by intimate solo guitar. This stylish shaping of a real programme makes the disc a far cry from the dutiful traipsing through opus numbers for tidiness' sake that Venetian music often seems to provoke among musicians. Points also need to awarded for the fact that there are three first recordings here, by Pollarolo, Lotti and an anonymous piece for soprano and guitar. Vivaldi has his rightful place but there are lesser known names here, too, that also find convincing advocates in La Serenissima. Sound quality excellent throughout.