If you're looking for a recording of Locatelli's complete Opus 8 Violin Sonatas, look no further. These 1994 recordings by the aptly named Locatelli Trio are not only superbly played and beautifully recorded, they have the singular virtue of being the only available recordings of the works. That's alright: with violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch at the helm, they are uniformly first-rate performances. Wallfisch is herself a superior period instrument player who balances the virtuoso demands of the music with its undeniable melodic charm and harmonic invention, and she leads cellist Richard Tunnicliffe and harpsichordist Paul Nicholson in performances that amaze as well as delight the listener. Furthermore, when the trio becomes a quartet with the addition of violinist Rachel Isserlis for the final four sonatas for two violins and continuo, the best gets even better through the brilliant interplay of two skilled soloists. For lovers of virtuoso violin music of the Italian High Baroque, this is as good as it gets. Hyperion's sound is crisp but warm, detailed but deep.
The two concertos are worth lisenting although not masterpices. The second in the disk is better. Spada's playing is delicate and precise although the tempi in both finales is rather slow. Not to be compared with those concertos by Mozart but good. The overture to "Les Horaces" is beautifully composed in a Gluckian style. Its final subject heard by the end is very inspired and heroic. The overture to "Semiramide" (presented as to either "La Secchia Rapita" or "Il Ricco di un Giorno" -I can not remember exactly- in other Salieri's CD) is less interesting and Spada's slow tempo reinforces the mediocrity of the piece.