Schubert: Die Schone Mullerin by David Greco & Erin Helyard
Arcangelo Corelli (1653–1713) was an influential composer, and the earliest famed solely for his instrumental works. His contemporaries were (and remain) known for their vocal compositions as much as their instrumental ones, so it is unusual that Corelli has such enduring appeal despite having shied away from composing for the voice. Genesis Baroque’s debut recording – Corelli’s Concerti Grossi, Op. 6 – attests to that appeal. All twelve concerti presented here traverse a wide range of moods, colours and characters, and possess the hallmark elegance and drama of their day.
Genesis Baroque is a relatively young Melbourne ensemble, formed in 2017 by multitalented violinist and psychologist Jennifer Kirsner. Eminent baroque violinist Lucinda Moon is the ensemble’s musical director and concertmaster, and she offers many fine solos on this disc, alongside similarly distinguished violinist Sophie Gent. Although not soloists in the traditional sense (their parts are integrated into the texture of the ensemble), Moon and Gent both give lively, intelligent performances. Generally, this is an outstanding recording, brimming with effervescence, and proudly featuring an all-Australian cast of musicians. It is a slick production – from its packaging (featuring an image of the Pantheon in Rome, which is where Corelli is buried), to the production values, and to the ensemble happy snaps within. Notable is the Christmas concerto grosso in G minor – ‘Fatto per la notte di natale’ – so popular during Corelli’s lifetime that it was apparently performed at his funeral.
Recently, I have spent many a happy afternoon at home, listening to this CD from go to whoa, such is the comforting nature of Corelli’s mellifluous music and Genesis Baroque’s superb playing. A recording by which to relax, cook, read, sew, garden, and while away a lockdown hour. Genesis Baroque’s Corelli album is the warm musical hug we all need right now.