Europa Galante is one of several outstanding specialist period instrument ensembles that have come to prominence on the early music scene in the last decade. These specialist players explore and exploit the strength of their period instruments rather than being restricted by the weaknesses. On this release at their best I especially enjoyed their Concerto in B flat major, RV 383a with its exhilarating played opening Allegro. A plaintive violin solo in the Largo e cantabile features over a clock-like rhythm followed by the furiously paced and energetic closing Allegro. The inspiration is variable and the level of memorability is often limited. A good example of this is the Concerto in F major, RV 291 that opens with a frantic violin solo in a movement that outstays its welcome. The very short central Larghetto is a rather forgettable with a rhythmically determined closing Allegro that feels breathlessly frantic. (Michael Cookson)
"The Gramophone Database has seldom been without a decent recording of these ceaselessly fascinating concertos, though none begins to approach this new version in respect of fantasy and exuberance...this new two-CD issue has restored my faith in [Europa Galante's] ability to bring something entirely fresh and vital to oft-performed repertoire, illuminating well-trodden paths with affective articulation and eloquently voiced inflexions...immensely satisfying." -NA, Gramophone
"Poro, re dell'Indie" (HWV 28) is an opera seria in three acts by George Frideric Handel. The Italian-language libretto was adapted from Alessandro nell'Indie by Metastasio, and based on Alexander the Great's encounter with King Porus in 326 BC. The libretto had already been set to music by Leonardo Vinci in 1729 and by Antonio Vivaldi among others and was used as the text for more than sixty operas throughout the 18th century. The opera was first given at the King's Theatre in London on 2 February 1731 and on 15 further occasions. A run of 16 performances was a mark of success for the time as is the fact that the work was revived on 23 December 1731, and again in a revised form on 8 December 1736. It was also given in Hamburg and Brunswick.
The Academy of Ancient Music does a wonderfully and good performance playing the pieces by Vivaldi one seldom hears and they are precious and surprising heart-touching compositions in the inimicable style of the enthusiastic Antonio. Good purchase of 6 CDs!
Vivaldi augmented his reputation as The Red Priest with L'Estro Armonico , Op. 3, a collection of twelve concertos for one, two and four violins. The title of the collection encapsulates the qualities that so entranced Vivaldi's contemporaries. L Estro Armonico , which might be translated as musical rapture , reflects the vitality and freshness of Vivaldi's invention: its rhythmic energy, melodic and harmonic intensity,textural sensuousness,performative brilliance and dramatic flair.