When this came out, I ate it up, the chance to hear a "new" rendition of op. 3 with Hogwood and an Italian ensemble I already knew from their recordings on another label. Their Tartini discs were not 5-star renditions in my opinion, but likely 4-star readings (when, admittedly, no one else was recording them). I don't disagree with the two other current reviews on this release, however, as something didn't quite work in this recording.
Which I think has less to do with individual pieces (one performer or the recording engineer) and a summation of all of the elements that go into a good recording. Obviously, the vision between the leader and the group has to be shared and of one mind. Who is to say, but did that contribute to the performance? I will admit, some of the playing from the strings sounds weak in spots. But the biggest drawback is the recorded sound.
The instruments sound scratchy at times and thin; but baroque instruments do sound that way at times. But the imperfections are sometimes lost in the bloom of a nice performance space. This space and the way it was captured sounds way too small and close. It reminds me of what they might sound like playing in a 3-car garage. Lots of hard surfaces, almost no reverb, and everything is very transparent. It didn't help these guys that it was recorded this way... a church, for instance, might have been much more forgiving. The notes say it was recorded in a "Sala della music" but... if it's been engineered for musical performances we can, I guess, blame the recording engineers.
It's too bad... but beyond Pinnock's reading, I like Fabio Biondi's with Europa Galante and Dantone's reading with Accademia Bizantina.