12 Concerti Grossi After Scarl
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Thought by many to be Avison's greatest masterpieces, these arrangements of Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas were for many decades the only Avison music known. Now thanks to Gordon Dixon and the Avison Ensemble, a complete edition of his quite large output is weill underway; this is the fifth in the series, following two sets on Naxos and two on Divine Art. This is sublime baroque music at its best, performed on period instruments.
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Pavlo Beznosiuk has established himself as a major international star of baroque music and his skill and experience make this a very good recording indeed. The small ensemble are all excellent players who imbue all these concerti with real meaning so that they never become bland baroque wallpaper, and the virtuosity is such that there is a wonderful sense of relaxed enjoyment even in the really difficult parts. It is exemplary playing in my view and at least the equal of any other recording I know - even the fabulous café Zimmermann disc, which is really saying something.
With excellent recorded sound and a nicely presented booklet with good notes, this is a really good set all round and warmly recommended.
These concerti get exquisitely fine treatment here at the hands of the eponymous Avison Ensemble led by ancient music superstar Pavlo Beznosiuk. This recording is a delight from start to finish.
I owned the Marriner recordings in the 80s not long after their release but never replaced them after converting from vinyl. Avison was remembered as a lovely but hardly necessary jewel from my earlier collection, perhaps only appealing to someone learning baroque music afresh. But upon hearing his work again, I was sort of surprised and embarrassed I'd let myself cast Avison into that
musical category. The music is first rate. My hat goes off to Newcastle. Geordies of the world, unite!!
The good news (unlike the 80s) is now there are many choices. I'm sure the Marriner recordings still stand up well, but they're now joined by more alternatives than I could shake a stick at....ranging from dirt cheap to revered but also very expensive.
The Avison Ensemble renditions are among the very best, and at a reasonable price. And (for those to whom such things matter) their focus on their namesake composer is no accident: the groups avowed purpose is to expand awareness of Avison and other lesser- known baroque composers. This recording as well as others they've done are made possible with the assistance of Northern English charities. A worthy cause indeed...I've already ordered some of their other Avison recordings.
But...if you're new to Avison there's no better place to start than the Scarlatti concerti. Highly recommended...both the music and the ensemble.