Handel – Concerti a due cori
Gottfried von der Goltz & Petra Müllejans, concertmaster & violin
Harmonia Mundi, 2018
It was between 1747-1748 that Handel delighted his audience with a new type of concerto, the “concerto a due cori”. Handel wrote three of them and scored them for two wind groups (or “cori”, as he called them) with the usual strings. All concertos make use of earlier material.
The Concerto no. 1 (HWV 332) was the second work to be composed, and its premiere took probably place at the premiere of the oratorio Joshua at Covent Garden in March 1748. The Concerto no. 2 (HWV 333) followed shortly after and premiered at the end of the same month during the performance of the oratorio Alexander Balus. Anyway, the first Concerto a due cori ever performed is actually the last of Handel’s catalogue (HWV 334). It premiered during an interval in Judas Maccabaeus at Covent Garden in April 1747 and is the most original of the three.
If you were looking for a light and fine album, look no further. This recording of the Concerti a due cori is definitely the one right for you. Thanks to Handel’s transparent and lush melodies and to the exquisite performance of the Freiburger Barockorchester, here you will find an entertaining and refined kind of music.
Petra Müllejans and of Gottfried von der Goltz
After all, it is enough to read the names of Petra Müllejans and of Gottfried von der Goltz to be pleased. Müllejans magnificently conducted Carolyn Sampson’s album Cantatas for soprano and Philippe Jaroussky’s Bach & Telemann. Sacred Cantatas. As for Goltz, Haydn’s Concerto for Violin & Symphonies and Locatelli’s Concerti grossi op. 1 are among his best recordings. Moreover, they both were concertmasters in the recording of Bach’s Concertos for violins BWV 1041-1043, again with the Freiburger Barockorchester.
Concerti a due cori
Müllejans and Goltz conduct Handel’s Concerti a due cori with the same taste and refinement that mark their previous recording. Their rendition is light and elegant. They lead the Freiburger Barockorchester with energy and attention for the varied nuances of Handel’s music. What is particularly amazing is their ability to highlight the different, sometimes contrasting colours of the three Concerti.
The first Concerto is also the most sumptuous one, as the opulent Overture immediately reveals. It is also the wittiest and liveliest, as it is possible to hear in the Allegro ma non troppo and in the martial and yet festive music of the final Allegro.
The second Concerto is the one where the Freiburger Barockorchester shows more balance. This work has a vein of melancholy in all its movements, with the only exception of the A tempo ordinario. If the definition of “elegance” belongs to one of the three Concerti, the second is the one that deserves it.
Finally, the third Concerto is again a fundamentally high-spirited work. It begins with the glorious exuberance of a movement labelled Pomposo (“pompous”) and is particularly amusing in the liveliness of the A tempo giusto, with its amazing dialogue between horns and strings.
It is to the different presentation of the moods of three Concerti a due cori that the success of this recording must be ascribed. Müllejans, Goltz and the Freiburger Barockorchester wonderfully highlight the various nuances of Handel’s music. It is a pleasure to discover them one after another in each of the three works and to listen how this fine orchestra and their leaders have been able to give prominence to the bright side of this music.