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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I Musici di Roma is the Mark of Excellence for Italian BaroqueOct. 8 2005
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I've studied and listened to classical music for over 25 years and I have heard various renditions of Albinoni's Concertos. Besides a few other performances in Baroque circles, I have not heard many that even compare to I Musici in performing Albinoni or Italian Baroque generally. As with all of their performances, I Musici brings a clear and most passionate interpretation that few can match. There is no symphonic overkill that you would find with Solti or Karajan's 300-member orchestras nor is the performance a lifeless academic exercise at applying traditional Baroque techniques. Being undisputably one of the best Baroque musical groups in existence, I Musici performs the piece to perfection with its small chamber ensemble without a conductor. All of the instruments are period instruments bringing out a clear, sharp, incomparable sound.
Don't be deceived into buying other performances even if they are by great conductors and symphonies such as Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic or Solti and the Chicago/London Symphonies. Orchestral ensembles are generally too large for chamber pieces and most of the instruments used are modern. They are also recorded in too large of spaces so the performances sound like Beethoven's 9th instead of a chamber piece. There are other groups and recordings that are more faithful to Baroque techniques and traditional interpretations but their performances tend to be overly rigid and lifeless. The artists in such chamber groups generally come from academic backgrounds on traditional techniques and instruments instead of professional performance training and so are more focused on applying the techniques instead of evoking from them the mood required by the piece. Especially Italian Barouque which is always more freely expressive than German Baroque. This results in clumsy and lifeless performances where each musician painfully over-accentuates the proper techniques throughout the entire piece so that it comes out sounding as a cacophony instead of a symphony. I Musici is comprised of some of the finest classical musicians alive today and Pina Carmirelli is probably one of the best solo violinists to have ever performed with them (hear Carmirelli's 1982 performance with them for the Four Seasons!) They emphasize more on a passionate Italian Romantic interpretation in their performances instead of a rigid Baroque one and the results are most delightful to the ears. That perhaps is the only flaw in its interpretation of the often over-methodical Italian Baroque style for the concerti grossi. Although I Musici usually tends to again use a more fluid Italian Romantic style rather than a strict Baroque one, their shortcomings in that field are hardly a defect in their performances or this recording: on the contrary, they enhance them! These slight shortcomings are more than compensated for by I Musici performing with some of the best classical musicians exclusively on mostly Stradivarius strings within the size of a small Baroque chamber orchestra. Lastly, I Musici di Roma is also known for having some of the best sound engineering and mixing for its recordings than any other chamber group and this album is one of many great examples. The recording quality for this performance is so rich and clear for each instrument being played that you actually feel as if you are at a live performance each time you hear it.
I Musici di Roma is unequivocally one of the best, if not the best, performing groups for Baroque music and you won't go wrong buying any of their performances no matter whether the composers are from the Italian or German Baroque period. This particular recording is with Pina Carmirelli who is one of the best contemporary violinists for the Italian Baroque style along with others such as Salvatore Acardo. It is a great buy!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Five Star Performances of Underrated MusicApril 20 2008
Doug - Haydn Fan
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Tomaso Albinoni is a name most music lovers confuse with all those 'other' composers of the High Italian Baroque who are not named Vivaldi.
Albinoni wrote over 80 operas, and scores of cantatas, concertos and sonatas, and was capable of very serious cratsmanship when he wasn't rushing work out.
The twelve concertos of this Opus 5, perhaps his most famous work, are a heady mixture of Venetian color and melody incorporated into more serious composition forms. Listeners who pay close attention can discover quite a challenge in following some of the part lines flowing in an out of the music. If not quite as revolutionary or brilliant as Vivaldi's best work, these 1707 selections clearly mark Albinoni as one of the masters of the age. In their day they were huge hits, and came out in several editions.
I Musici plays this music like, well, I Musici! Which is to say, they are something of a gold standard in such repetorie. The unbeatable tone of their instruments enlivens the golden Venetian flavor of the music, and Pina Carmirelli plays so superbly it brings tears to the eyes.
A MUST purchase for lovers of the Italian Baroque. I found my CD copy on a Philips Eloquence label, you might look around!
Sounds great to me !!!!April 2 2012
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If you play this for people, 99 times out of 100 they will say it is Vivaldi.
Albinoni is slightly less exuberant than Vivaldi, but still excellent and baroque.
I have this and Op. 10. Albinoni is fantastic to listen to. It was said he had his own style and refused to change over his many years to the progressive styles and visions of his peers. Anyway, it all sounds good and refined.