Home     Artists     Contact
 
 
 

Back to artist

 
Reviews CONCERTO ITALIANO & RINALDO ALESSANDRINI
 

Classical-music.com 21/11/2018 : The best recordings of JS Bach's Brandenburg Concertos
The Brandenburg Concertos are breathtaking in their instrumentation, counterpoint and orchestral texture. Here are recordings that bring out the best in these wonderful works.
The best recording : Rinaldo Alessandrini (director) & Concerto Italiano (2005)/Naïve OP30412
There are recordings of the Brandenburgs to suit every mood and taste, but while many conductors strive for a certain consistency of approach within their sets, Rinaldo Alessandrini sees each concerto as a new challenge requiring individually tailored solutions.
The essence of his set is not just variety between concertos but also within them, with a wide expressive range which nevertheless avoids attention-seeking novelty.
No. 1 comes off particularly well by contrasting a galloping first movement with an unexpectedly luxuriant and beautifully inflected slow movement, while in the final dash of dance movements the Polonaise is singled out for unusually mellow treatment.
Alessandrini never drives the music too hard, bending to the lilt of the dance and prizing supple elasticity and meaningful rhetorical gestures over mechanical rhythms and mindless speeding.
Every concerto balances the instruments differently. In Nos 1 and 2 the brass grab the limelight and deliver their parts with spittle-rattling glee, while in No. 5 Alessandrini, as soloist, is careful to balance his harpsichord with the gentler solo flute and violin.
This set offers an irresistibly expansive and effusive approach, right down to the immediacy of the recording and the vast breadth of the sound. Oliver Condy - Article

Crescendo-magazine.be  31/10/2018 : Un siècle de musique italienne
1700. Oeuvres de Mascitti, Caldara, Vivaldi, Durante, Geminiani, Locatelli, Galuppi, Pugnani. Concerto Italiano, dir.: Rinaldo ALESSANDRINI. 2017-DDD-65'03-Textes de présentation en anglais et français-Naïve OP 30568.
De Geminiani vient ensuite la Sonata a quattro dal Concerto op. 3 n° 3, prétexte à d'étourdissantes alchimies mêlées à des prouesses de virtuosité….., la Sinfonia en si bémol majeur de Gaetano Pugnani regorge de surprises, dissonances, chromatismes et bizarreries qui résument bien, tout à la fois, tout ce que cette musique avait de –littéralement- baroque, mais aussi tout le côté « laboratoire expérimental » qui surprend aujourd'hui encore, thèse qu'Alessandrini et ses troupes défendent avec leur maestria habituelle dans un disque tout à fait réussi et passionnant de bout en bout.   Bernard Postiau - Article

Diapason Juin 2018: CD 1700
Compositions à 4 parties de Mascitti, Caldara, Vivaldi, Locatelli, Galupi, Pugnani.
Rinaldo Alessandrini au clavier, devant cinq archets et un théorbe, remonte aux sources du quatuor à cordes et du langage symphonique: leur programme s’attache aux musiques italiennes à quatre parties (concerti à quattro et sinfonie) … Alessandrini confirme le grand pas en avant dont témoignait déjà le second volume de ses Concerti à 4 de Vivaldi (Naïve 2013), où il avait opté pour une lecture à partie reélle, déléguant les résponsabilités et laissant de côté tout effet artificiel et forcé. Qu’il poursuive ainsi, la capacité d’évolution n’est donnée qu’à bien peu ! Son tout nouveau Concerto Italiano, qui introduit Boris Begeleman, Antonio De Secondi (violons), Marco Ceccato (violoncelle), Ugo Di Giovanni (théorbe), irréprochable sur les plans technique et sonore, arrive à une entente merveilleuse. On est guidé vers de nombreux détails insoupçonnés sans perdre une seconde la source émotionelle et dialectique qui anime ses pièces. Un régal. Olivier Fourés

Gramphone June 2018 : CD 1700
….Playing these assorted concertos and sinfonia one-to-a-part (plenty of 18th- century precedent here), Alessandrini and his crack players marry elegance with unfailing rhythmic zest, always attentive to textural clarity and the shaping of bass lines. The continuo ( harpsichord and/or theorbo) adds impetus without ever becoming irritatingly obstructive.
Alessandrini and his band bring a devil-may-care exuberance to a Vivaldi ripieno concerto – one of the few works here with no Correlian pedigree – and a vividly gestural, quasi-operatic manner to a sinfonia funebre which may or may not be by Locatelli (though the final minuet is arguably too breezy for music marked “ La consolazione”). The players are invariably sensitive to harmonic flux, not least in a darkly brooding sinfonia by Gaetano Pugnani that sounds like Correli updated for the Classical age. A word , too, for violinist Boris Begelman’s mingled brilliance and grace in the Durante concerto. In an enterprisingly chosen repertoire, Concerto Italiano are here at their exhilarating, imaginative best  Richard Wigmore

Gramophone February 2018 : CD Bach – Variations on Variations
‘Variations on Variations’ sees Rianaldo Alessandrini take keyboard works by JS Bach which adopt the variation as their generating musical principle, then vary them further himself by reworking them for the Concerto Italiano chamber forces of violin, viola, cello and violone, him directing from the harpsichord.
…Taking the opening Aria, where, far from pulling up the variations’ harpsichord roots, Alessandrini thoroughly beds them down by beginning with the solo harpsichord of the original. Then, when the instrumentation does flower out into ensemble writing, the original’s austere grace has been absolutely nailed, Antonio de Secondi’s violin tenderly singing the melody line to the gentle swells of the bare-bones strings accompaniment.
….The harpsichord then maintains a firm presence throughout the subsequent movements, bringing a strong overall sense of cohesion to their switches between full ensemble, 2 instruments plus basso continuo, and 2 instruments minus bass, ….Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

Rhinegold.co.uk 22/01/2018 : CD Bach: Variations on Variations
This is a fascinating mix of arrangements for instrumental ensemble of works originally for various keyboards, described by Alessandrini himself as ‘a divertissement, a subtle intellectual pleasure.’ Thus, the Passacaglia, BWV5892, originally (probably) for pedal harpsichord, is here weighted, lachrymose and heard in an impassioned yet stylish account. Concentrating the scoring down, the Aria variata alla maniera italiana, BW989 is presented for violin and basso continuo instead of on harpsichord in a fabulously lilting performance; a pity the church acoustic occasionally muddies the texture.
Of course, the Goldbergs have famously been arranged for string trio by Sitkovetsky, an arrangement that works superbly. So does Alessandrini’s version, which starts on harpsichord for the first statement of the theme before the balance of (stringed) instruments is introduced.
Listen to the astonishing scoring of Variation 28 to hear just what a mind is at work here.  Colin Clarke - Article

The Guardian.com 2/01/2018 : Concerto Italiano/Alessandrini brings fastidious stylishness to Bach
A concert dedicated to Bach’s enigmatic Musical Offering showcased the precision of Rinaldo Alessandrini’s ensemble, while highlighting the austerity of the work. The Concerto Italiano and its conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini may be best known internationally for their superlative performances of Monteverdi’s vocal works, but instrumental Bach features prominently in their repertory, too …
Bach/The Musical Offering …. Of course, the main set pieces – the two fugues and the trio sonata – were impressive, and played with their usual fastidious stylishness by Alessandrini and his colleagues, …  Andrew Clements - Article

BR-Klassik 22/12/2017:  Rinaldo Alessandrini "Bcha - Variations on Variations"
Grosse Ruhe und Klarheit - Andere Variationen entwickeln dank der rhythmischen Brillanz von Concerto Italiano einen ansteckenden tänzerischen Swing. Umso schmerzlicher kommen die harmonischen Kühnheiten Bachs in der längsten Variation zur Geltung, einem Adagio. Alessandrini lässt Phrasen wunderbar frei ausschwingen, findet zu großer Ruhe und Klarheit, bevor er seine Mitstreiter erneut zu geschärfter Artikulation und virtuosem Ensemblespiel animiert. ...Fridemann Leipold - Kritik

24heures.ch 22/11/2017: Rinaldo Alessandrini parle Bach avec son accent du sud
Attendu et espéré depuis toujours, Rinaldo Alessandrini sera enfin présent au Festival Bach de Lausanne, apportant même L’offrande musicale en cadeau d’anniversaire pour conclure vendredi soir la 20e édition du festival. Rares sont les musiciens italiens à défendre la musique de Bach avec autant de persévérance et de régularité que le claveciniste romain, en soliste ou à la tête de son ensemble, comme il vient de le faire au disque en proposant ses propres orchestrations des Variations Goldberg (Naïve). Le grand connaisseur de Monteverdi et de toute la musique baroque italienne s’étonne pourtant qu’on s’étonne de son goût pour Bach: «Pour moi, renoncer à Bach serait difficile, confie-t-il. C’est notre pain quotidien qu’on a plaisir à manger. Une journée sans jouer Bach pendant une demi-heure serait une journée perdue.»  Matthieu Chenal - Article

The Guardian 5/11/2017 : CD Bach arr Alessandrini: Variations on Variations – revelatory Goldbergs and more
Most arrangements of Bach’s adaptable music aim to bring it up to date for modern instruments; this group of transcriptions adapt it to the resources of the time but in new guises. So the great organ Passacaglia in C minor becomes a vigorous essay for solo strings, adding transparency and bite to the glorious sonorities. The Aria variata and Canzona are lesser pieces, but the revelation here is the Goldberg Variations, reimagined as a breathtaking romp. The canons are strictly done, but in the freer variations Rinaldo Alessandrini adds parts at will and dazzles with the virtuosity of his ensemble’s playing. At the end, solo harpsichord and strings touchingly intertwine. Nicholas Kenyon - Article

Classica nr 193 Novembre 2017: Chocs de l’année - CD Monteverdi Nuit, Histoires d’amants et de guerriers
Le créateur du bien nommé Concerto Italiano, une lampe à huile la main, nous emmène parcourir cette Nuit qui dispense ses jeux d’ombres et de lumières. Placé en concurrence avec lui-même dans toutes les pièces sélectionnés, Alessandrini est d’une rare constance.
Les chanteurs, certes, ont changé, mais Hor che’l ciel e la terra conserve ce tempo étiré et ces phrasés décantés qui, seuls, parviennent à faire entendre le silence en musique.
L’écrin instrumental, plus suggestif, fait l’économie du clavecin au profit du théorbe dans l’ultime Tanto della salute.
La variété des accents fait du narrateur du Combattimento un microcosme d’humanité, tandis que l’ensembles à cordes ouvre l’imaginaire de l’auditeur. À la rondeur, à la lumière tamisée de la version des Arts Florissants (harmonia Mundi) répondent ici des éclairages noirs et ocre qui tisonnent les affetti. Ensorcelant.

La Clef Resmusica 7/07/2017: Nuit, Théâtre, Histoires d'amour et de guerre avec Monteverdi et le Concerto Italiano
Tout le contraire de récentes parutions, cette nouvelle version des grands madrigaux de Monteverdi se caractérise par une théâtralité affirmée. Rinaldo Alessandrini et le Concerto Italiano nous emmènent vers de nouveaux sommets.
….C’est sur un fascinant « Hor che’l ciel e la terra », que démarre cette formidable démonstration de rhétorique, autant verbale que musicale. La subtile architecture des volumes sonores confère au madrigal polyphonique un dramatisme rarement atteint. De façon similaire, le Combattimento est l’un des plus passionnés que l’on ait pu entendre ces dernières décennies, et rarement le mariage d’Éros et de Thanatos aura été consommé avec une telle puissance.
…L’interprétation, on l’aura compris, est de la plus grande qualité, même si les voix n’ont pas la beauté intrinsèque de celles que l’on trouve sur de précédentes versions. Au moelleux des timbres se substituent donc l’intelligence du texte et la finesse de l’interprétation. Maître absolu des rythmes, des colorations instrumentales et des édifices architecturaux, Alessandrini emmène vers de nouveaux sommets ses musiciens du Concerto Italiano.
Un Monteverdi pour rêver, vibrer et aimer, pour vivre et mourir. Pierre Degott - Article

NDR.de 12/05/2017: Claudio Monteverdi: Night - Stories of Lovers and Warriors
…Die sechs Sänger und neun Instrumentalisten des Concerto Italiano sind ein eingespieltes Team und eng mit der Musik und den Texten vertraut. Sie formen und genießen die Vokale, die Konsonanten und die Betonungen der Wörter so expressiv und natürlich, wie es wahrscheinlich nur Muttersprachlern gelingt….Rinaldo Alessandrini erweckt die Leidenschaft der Musik zu neuem Leben und rundet das Programm mit kurzen Ouvertüren und Zwischenspielen ab, in denen er die Farben der Historischen Instrumente leuchten lässt. Eine aufregende und zugleich sehr stimmige CD, ideal für eine Erstbegegnung mit dem Komponisten, aber auch für Monteverdi-Kenner. Marcus Stäbler - Full article

Diapason Mai 2017 : Nouveauté CD Monteverdi
…Un hor ch’el ciel e la terra proprement inouï, auquel prélude la sinfonia du sommeil de Charon (L’orfeo), stupéfie dès ses premières notes. Le premier quatrain du sonnet de Pétrarque gagne une lenteur saisissante et un déclamation hagarde, fantomatique : le silence de la nuit devient une matière palpable. Un prodigieux étirement du temps autorise une gradation idéale des affetti, du molle vers le temperato, au fil vers des vers. Surgit alors le stile concitato, qui porte le discours et les passions au comble de l’agitation.
La deuxième partie introduit un nouveau contraste : les dissonances sont distillées suavement, illustration idéale de l’oxymore « dolce pena », tandis que dans la péroraison, Alessandrini nous fait savourer chaque mot jusqu’à l’extase.
…Le discours orchestral revêt une importance et surtout une diversité nouvelles : le paysage sonore et la peinture des affetti sont plus colorés et éloquents. Les violons non seulement restituent les pizzicatos et les modes de jeux alla Bartok que le compositeur spécifie, mais donnent aussi à entendre les arcate soave exprimant « la supplication et l’humilité, puis la mort » : le chef attend l’ultime extinction du son, faisant tirer les archets jusqu’à leur dernière extrémité….. Dennis Morrier

El Pais 21/03/2017: Gloria - ¿Cuándo podremos cantar de nuevo a la esperanza, a la alegría, a la magna labor de hacer un mundo nuevo?
Rinaldo Alessandrini abrió el Festival de Música Antigua de Sevilla con su Concerto Italiano y las monumentales Vísperas de Santa María….
Una alegría frenética, una esperanza exaltada, un vigor furioso movía a los músicos cuando cantaban la grandeza de nuestra especie en tiempos de Monteverdi. También era grande la envidia y el deseo de alcanzarles. ¿Cuándo podremos cantar de nuevo a la esperanza, a la alegría, a la magna labor de hacer un mundo nuevo? ¿Cuándo volveremos a creer en nuestras fuerzas? ¿Cuándo sonará nuestro Magnificat? - Félix De Azúa - Full article

The Adelaide Review 9/03/2017 : Concerto Italiano: L’Orfeo
During the two-hour performance, director and harpsichordist Rinaldo Alessandrini breathed vitality into the 410 year-old masterpiece. There was highly dramatic storytelling: …
The instrumentalist interspersed flashes of soaring buoyancy with moments of tempered serenity. The glory of old instruments was on full display: there were long-necked lutes, violins, a harp, various percussions, and two theorbos adding their distinct bass notes. Ena Grozdanic - Full article

LimelightMagazin 8/03/2017 : Monteverdi's L'Orfeo (Concerto Italiano, Adelaide Festival)
Musically mind-blowing – a highly talented, intelligent collaborative period music ensemble.
Throughout the opera, there are many recitatives, in which all of Concerto Italiano’s singers clearly, precisely and with great drama declaimed the opera’s text. The imaginative, colourful and complementary continuo accompaniment from the huge continuo section of two theorbo, two harpsichord, an organ, a regal, a harp and cello was also a delight. That they achieved such refined continuo accompaniment demonstrates their significant creative and listening ability as musicians, their understanding of the text, and the ability to work well and respectfully as a unified team…. Through Rinaldo Alessandrini's fine selection of singers, he has created an ensemble in which all the voices blended beautifully and where all knew how to work together and spark off each other, clearly communicating the music’s spirit in their faces and broader body language.
…The opera closed with an exuberant Moresca (a pantomime dance) in which one immediately witnessed the Concerto Italiano musicians’ obvious joy, enthusiasm and pleasure in performing Monteverdi’s inventive and stately music. Christopher Wainwright - Full article

Australian Stage 8/03/2017: L’Orfeo / Concerto Italiano
…, the variety of sonorities was really exciting, and gave the performance, already vibrant, a palette of colours worthy of the Italian, or for that matter the Adelaide, sunshine.
Throughout the performance the director, Rinaldo Alessandrini, was in complete control, no sooner bringing one passage to its careful cadence than launching into the next with ever renewed passion. Like all of the performers tonight, especially having prepared the edition, he knows the music backwards. More: like all of them, he lives the music.
This was as inspiring a concert as you are ever likely to hear. We have in Australia some absolutely first-rate baroque ensembles – I think especially of Pinchgut Opera in Sydney. But even by their standards, tonight’s concert was a revelation. What more do you want?  - Nicholas Routley – Full article

The Advertiser 8/03/2017 : Adelaide Festival 2017: Concerto Italiano
…In this magnificent performance by Concerto Italiano, the staggering boldness and originality of Monteverdi’s gesture was fully revealed. ..The instrumentalists, under the direction of Rinaldo Alessandrini, are equally familiar with the performing conventions of the time and sounded marvellous from start to finish.
…The only minor drawback of this performance was the lack of a libretto or at least a good synopsis of the plot in the program to help those who neglected to consult the internet beforehand; but such is the glory of Monteverdi’s exquisite music and the passionate intensity of this performance that it scarcely mattered. - Stephen Whittington – Full article

Radio Adelaide.edu 8/03/2017 : Concerto Italiano by Julie Cavanagh
Monteverdi’s opera L’Orfeo - This was a rare treat for Adelaide, the first Australian performance of this masterpiece and it was exclusive to the Adelaide Festival.
… We were treated to an interpretation that would have been very similar to that Monteverdi’s audiences may have seen in the 17th century, complete with instruments true to the period. The long necked theorbo, 2 of which Monteverdi specified had to be used in this work, were in fact developed specifically for opera, to give the extra bass notes needed.
The 11 vocalists were individually outstanding and collectively brilliant – the ensemble voices melded exquisitely with the instruments …
Director and Conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini, who founded the group over 30 years ago, conducted with vigor and tact and also added his considerable talents as a player to the performance with his contribution on the organ and harpsichord.
Sadly, this was a one-off event, but if you ever come across another performance of L’Orfeo by Concerto Italiano – don’t miss it!  - Julie Cavanagh - Full article

Backtrack 7/03/2017: Concerto Italiano’s classy L’Orfeo thrills in Adelaide’s Town Hall 
…Concerto Italiano impresses with its class. The ensemble is on a world tour honouring the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth and the 410th anniversary of the first performance of L’Orfeo. Since director Rinaldo Alessandrini, who also conducts, plays the harpsichord and the organ, founded Concerto Italiano in 1984, it has become one of the premier Baroque ensembles in the world. 
The twenty three piece ensemble of Baroque instruments, with Craig Marchitelli and Ugo Di Giovanni, showing obvious enjoyment in playing their theorbos, closeted next to the conductor, was a close-knit combination of precision and excellence. 
…This was a very authentic performance, capturing the vision of four hundred years ago. I found it an intensely satisfying experience. - Brian Angus - Full article

BroadwayWorld 24002/2017: What's Really Old is New Again, with POPPEA from Concerto Italiano at Carnegie Hall
Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea  - … As soon as they started playing, and the first notes burst forth from the glorious soprano Miah Persson, who sang the dual roles of the goddess Fortuna and the seductress Poppea, I knew that all was right with the world--or, at least, for that moment, with these musicians, in this temple of music. 
.., the dozen singers and orchestra were able to conjure up the world of the Roman emperor Nero, his wife Ottavia, his mistress Poppea and her husband or lover Otho, with their assorted teachers, friends and servants. Concerto Italiano, led by Alessandrini from the harpsichord, gave an immaculate performance that put the singers--and Maestro Monteverdi--first, putting together an outstanding group of singers for the evening, …- Richard Sasanow - Full article

Stuff.co.nz 28/02/2016: NZ Festival Reviews: Concerto Italiano
Monteverdi  Vespers (1610)
….Rinaldo Alessandrini is one of today's  foremost Monteverdi experts and his Concerto Italiano is at the forefront of authentic music groups. … Alessandrini  paced the work with uncanny certainty and his instrumentalists showed the full glory of the old trombones  and cornets, the brilliant string playing and the surprising projection and tonal beauty of the two antiphonally placed theorbos, to perfection.
But what made this performance completely special was the singers. All of them had an Italian sound that was tingling. It is ridiculous to suggest that they sound like Italians of 400 years ago, but the distinct sound of the males in particular, and the passionate, fervent responses to the texts was unlike anything I have heard before in the Vespers.
This was quite something. - John Button - Full article

Sydney Morning Herald 24/02/2016: Remarkable exhibition of luminous work
…This interpretation of Monteverdi's luminous Marian Vespers by Concerto Italiano made a remarkable exhibition of period music singing and playing. Director Rinaldo Alessandrini has honed his version of this pivotal Renaissance masterpiece to the point where most surfaces gleam and the performers show unflappable security in their work. While some of the 10voices involved impressed, this listener's attention was attracted almost continuously by the 13 instrumentalists who brought an inspiring vitality to these 400-year-old pages.
Alessandrini cues nearly everything and shapes phrases with ardour. - Clive O'Connell- Full article

 

 

 

 

top