Platti Concerti grossi after Corelli

An Italian court musician in Germany presents Corelli in a fascinating light

Author: 
Richard Lawrence

Platti Concerti grossi after Corelli

  • Concerti grossi after Corelli's Op 5, In F
  • Concerto con Violoncello obligato
  • Concerti grossi after Corelli's Op 5, In F
  • Concerto 'per Oboé'
  • Concerti grossi after Corelli's Op 5, In G minor

Giovanni Benedetto Platti (1697-1763) was one of several Italian musicians working at the court of Würzburg in southern Germany. His employer was the prince-bishop: first of all Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn then, after a short break, one of his brothers. A third brother, not in holy orders, was a keen musician, from whose library the works on this disc are taken.

This brother was an amateur cellist, for whom the concerto recorded here was presumably written. It’s not particularly interesting but it enables Sebastian Hess to show off fleet fingerwork in the Allegros and singing tone in the central Adagio. Platti himself was a virtuoso oboist: the D minor Largo of his Concerto, tender and melancholy, more than makes up for the rather formulaic cast of the outer movements. Xenia Löffler produces beautifully rounded tone, more Maurice Bourgue than Heinz Holliger.

The main interest of the disc, though, is the adaptation of three sonatas from Corelli’s Op 5 set of 1700. It’s fascinating to hear what Platti does to the original. In the Preludio of No 10 in F, for instance, he adds a second violin part that weaves above and below Corelli’s treble line, sometimes in imitation; elsewhere, he will transpose the bass to create a passage for two violins.

The oddity is No 4, also in F. The booklet coyly refers to “a further, recent alteration” to the scoring, meaning the addition of woodwind and horns. In the second movement, the bassoons bubble away appealingly in thirds, as in Handel’s Op 3 No 1; but in the Gavotta, the horns reach up to an unbelievable – and unappealing – top A. Rum! Good performances, otherwise.

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