Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
The 17th and 18th centuries marked the era of Enlightenment, overseas exploration, unprecedented European economic expansion and a flourishing of art and culture, not to mention the birth of the greatest composers in history. From concertos to fantasias, suites to sonatas, Brilliant Classics presents a comprehensive and concise overview of this innovative and groundbreaking period in musical history, the Baroque era. The set opens with Venetian composer Tomaso Albinoni and his famous Concerti a5, in which he was the first Italian composer to use the oboe as the solo instrument in a concerto. He influenced J.S. Bach, who is fittingly the next composer to feature. Bach pioneered the Concerto Grosso form, with several soloists plus accompaniment, as opposed to just one. There is no better example of this than the famous Brandenburg Concertos, where solos are shared between a group of instruments and the various timbres of the different instruments make for varied and interesting pieces. In the first concerto, Bach employs horns, then mainly used as open-air hunting instruments, a twist on the refined concert piece performed in an elegant chamber setting. Bach also admired the work of Alessandro Marcello. Although Marcello’s work is lesser known, his music is notable for its forward-looking nature. Far from copying the styles and structures of his contemporaries, Marcello’s music is unique in its emotional impact; it’s dark and tempestuous, inflicted with a romantic streak. Passing via selected works by Purcell, Corelli and Telemann, Alessandro Stradella’s string sinfonias are found towards the end of the set. Stradella lived only to the age of 38 and yet he wrote over 300 works. He also found time to conduct a string of love affairs leading to his untimely demise at the hands of an assassin hired by a rival.