Ilya Gringolts: Pietro Locatelli, Il Labirinto Armonico: Three Violin Concertos

Pietro Antonio Locatelli (1695-1764) was an Italian Baroque composer and violinist. Locatelli possibly studied under Arcangelo Corelli, the famous Baroque composer. He was apparently known as the “Paganini of the 18th century”.

It’s a wonderful album, the playing fine and the sound warm and approachable. Gringolts, a Russian is marvellous, and the Finnish Baroque Orchestra (previously the Sixth Floor Orchestra) are lively and light on their collective feet: there are two violins, viola, cello, double bass, harpsichord and lute. If you’ve not heard of Locatelli and are not sure what baroque is, just think Vivaldi. We don’t how this compares technically to Vivaldi, but it’s got that same sunny cheerfulness as the Four Seasons.

We Googled Locatelli; some people think he’s a little showy, and a Mr Burney apparently said he “excites more surprise than pleasure” not something you could say about this album, and the old (1959) review that cited and disagreed with Mr Burney said Locatelli was mostly just technically demanding. The website baroquemusic.org notes: “Though his playing was highly praised, some observers found it too brilliant,” which we think would be like saying Neil Young (reviewed this week) is praiseworthy but has too much guitar. The point of Locatelli would appear to be his virtuosity. Very approachable and a pleasure to listen to.

This is out on BIS, 2445.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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