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Geminiani: Concerti Grossi (After Corelli Op. 5) [Import]

Francesco Geminiani , Arcangelo Corelli , Andrew Manze , The Academy of Ancient Music , Rachel Podger Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Price: $79.99
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MP3 Music, 59 Songs, 2006 $17.98  
Audio CD, Import, 2000 $79.99  

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Product Details

  • Performer: The Academy of Ancient Music, Rachel Podger
  • Conductor: Andrew Manze
  • Composer: Francesco Geminiani, Arcangelo Corelli
  • Audio CD (September 12, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B00004UFDB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,478 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. I Grave/Allegro/Adagio
2. II Allegro
3. III Largo
4. IV Allegro
5. I Grave
6. II Allegro
7. III Vivace
8. IV Adagio
9. V Vivace
10. I Adagio
See all 30 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. I Preludio
2. II Corrente
3. III Sarabanda
4. IV Giga
5. I Preludio
6. II Allemanda
7. III Sarabanda
8. IV Giga
9. I Preludio
10. II Giga
See all 29 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Francesco Geminiani (born 1687 in Lucca, Italy; died 1762 in Dublin), a pupil of Corelli and one of the greatest violinists of his day, wrote a lot of music for his instrument, as well as a treatise on playing it. He made the orchestration of these 12 sonatas in tribute to his teacher, who would certainly have been proud if he had lived to hear them. Going far beyond mere arrangements, they seem to explore and reveal latent or unrealized intentions, adding sonorities and contrapuntal voices, enhancing character and expression. The most striking example is the famous "La Follia," where the usually hidden drama is suddenly released with a tumultuous virtuosity that foreshadows Liszt's orchestral version of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy. The playing is stunning. Tuned a half-tone down, the strings have a lovely, pure, transparent sound that supports and surrounds the soloist with a warm shimmer; the long notes float, the fast movements are crisp and light, the rhythm and counterpoint are clear. Andrew Manze, who also writes informative, entertaining program notes, plays with spectacular virtuosity, a beautiful tone, and all-out expressive abandon and imagination, letting loose cascades of infinitely varied, inventive ornamentation. The second disc features the easier, more familiar sonatas, loved by all violin students, but transformed here into brilliant concertos. One of them is added to the first disc in Geminiani's ornamented version for violin and cello, while a cello sonata by Geminiani himself closes the program, perhaps a miscalculation, since the music is distinctly inferior to Corelli's. --Edith Eisler

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, beautifully done, great recording October 9, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
When an album is highly praised and recommended, I am normally skeptical. Like with new films, the critics tend to praise what isn't praiseworthy, making one wonder if good reviews aren't bought rather than earned through honest merit. This could not be so in this case -- as advertised, this album is superb. As the reviews overwhelmingly state, the presentation is really lovely -- Manze keeps the liveliness of the Concerto Grossi, upholding the spirit of the baroque, while also bringing an ethereal emotion to each piece. Dominant in the soundtrack are the violin counterposed with a subtle harpsichord, and in between the two instruments are the full range of the chamber orchestra. The sound is crisp and clear on this recording -- the louder you play it, the more dynamic and truly beautiful the music gets. Anyone fond of Baroque will find this a must-have album, while if you've never encountered Baroque composers, this is a good place to start, the presentation being really excellent and charming.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Corelli and his interpreters May 9, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
As the reader may already know, the opus 5 violin sonatas of Corelli were the inspiration for this orchestral interpretation of them by Geminiani. As related by Manze in his album notes, Corelli chose the significant year 1700 to publish opus 5, and according to Manze, this represents a landmark in Italian baroque, for every composer who came after has had to reckon with these sonatas, and somehow find a way to equal (but not surpass) them in invention and creativity. Vivaldi composed his own version of "La Follia" (Sonata XII), arguably better than Corelli's; but many another of Vivaldi's sonatas, magnificent though they are, simply do not have the clarity, spirituality, grace, and lyricism of the Corelli opus 5. Geminiani, a student of Corelli, and arguably one of the greatest baroque violinists of his day, crafted these orchestral versions of the opus 5 as a tribute to his master. Manze rightly observes that these concertos are not simply orchestrations of opus 5, but actually extensions of it; they are variations to some extent, creative expansions and magnificent glosses on the originals. New points of emphasis are added, some phrasings are given a different turn, new counterpoint is introduced at various places in the score to enhance the subtle beauty of the originals. If you love the Italian baroque, you will not want to be without this gem. But as others have observed, don't neglect the original sonatas themselves. Manze has recorded his own inimitable version on Harmonia Mundi, and I strongly recommend it. But there are others as well. Elizabeth Wallfisch on the Hyperion Label has her own recording, slightly more subdued yet also smoother than Manze's. I strongly recommend that you buy as many versions of the opus 5 as you have the budget for (well, at least three!), starting with these orchestrations by Geminiani. They will teach you to love the originals. Look at them as perhaps a point of entrance into what many consider the greatest violin sonatas ever written.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing...and I don't even like Baroque music August 23, 2001
Format:Audio CD
I must echo the previous reviewer's statement that if you aren't a fan of baroque, that this is a good place to start. For the most part, I've never found baroque music appealing. I've always gone for Shostakovich, Ravel, Debussy, Prokofiev, Takemitsu, Dvorak, Arvo Part, John Tavener, Tan Dun, etc. I then heard Geminiani Concerto no. 12 "Follia" and nearly came undone. Violinist Andrew Manze is one of the most inspired violinists I've ever heard. His playing and leadership with the impeccable Academy of Ancient Music is awe-inspiring. The only reason I knew who Academy of Ancient Music was is because of their recent commissions by John Tavener. This disc is passionate when need be, subtle when called for and every thing else appropriate to the moment.
Enough good can't be said about these two discs: strong music, strong playing, strong production/sound. Worth every penny...and that's saying a lot from a lover of 20th century music. Run, don't walk to get this.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Geminiani's concerti grossi April 27, 2002
By Kim
Format:Audio CD
I simply love this music, because it is so much deeper than any other music I know of. Geminiani understood perfectly how to use harmony and counterpoint to convey a large array of deeply felt emotions. In the slow parts there are beautiful and tender melodies filled with sweet harmonies (and sometimes very bitter dissonants), whereas the faster parts burst with energy and a burning love for live. I particularly love the last concerto (La Folia), which is incredibly lively and virtuosic. It's too bad that Bach learned the Italian style of music from Vivaldi and not from Geminiani (or Corelli). They would have fit together perfectly.
Manze does an excellent job in pushing the Academy of Ancient Music to its limits. They play very well - I think Geminiani would have been proud to hear his concerti played with such enthusiasm.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars go for the real thing January 12, 2003
Format:Audio CD
geminiani wrote some fine concerti in his career, but buyers should be aware that these 12 concerti grossi are actually geminiani's transcriptions for chamber orchestra of the 12 sonatas for violin and continuo, op.5, by his teacher, the roman composer archangelo corelli. (this explains the inclusion of two of the original corelli sonatas on the disc.) i am a great fan of both corelli and geminiani, and their mellifluous, elegant and sophisticated style of baroque music sounds great in any format ... but you may enjoy these sonatas more performed in their original versions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Absolutely delightful!
Published 8 days ago by Erica Linderman
5.0 out of 5 stars New and Improved, in my View
Other reviewers have provided a wealth of background about Geminiani, Corelli and the works in both forms, so I will be mercifully brief. Read more
Published 23 months ago by J. R. Trtek
5.0 out of 5 stars A collection of amazing talent
Corelli, Geminiani, Manze and the Academy of Ancient Music all blended into one amazing album!

I'll admit, I don't yet own the original violin sonatas by Corelli that... Read more
Published on February 19, 2012 by BrentH
5.0 out of 5 stars Understated Baroque beauty
Like a great cover band, Francesco Geminiani took Arcangelo Corelli's Op. 5 Violin Sonatas and reworked them into a classic set of Concerti Grossi just like ... Read more
Published on December 13, 2007 by Michael Birman
5.0 out of 5 stars relaxing classical music NOT
in london on that cold rainey tuesday night i saw andrew play some of these selections

he brought the house down or i should say the wren church

like a rock... Read more
Published on February 22, 2007 by S. D. Reed
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfull Baroque
As I heartily agree with Dan Grunfeld's review I can be brief. Corelli's opus 5, 12 sonatas for violin, with harpsichord or cello, set the standard for violin composition and... Read more
Published on January 31, 2007 by Ross Kennett
3.0 out of 5 stars Manze stretches period performance - but not enough
I am a dissident about "authentic instrument performance". I respect the commitment and skills of many of the practioners of this style of play. Read more
Published on August 24, 2002 by Frank T. Manheim
5.0 out of 5 stars Repleat with complexity and drama ... UNBELIEVABLE
I was driving back from Caramoor one Sunday when I heard a piece from this recording. That is when I decided to turn down a road I hadn't been don before just so I could listen to... Read more
Published on October 29, 2001 by LizGraphix
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