TELEMANN; CORELLI; BACH Concertos
This is, I think, a first release from Höör Barock, the orchestra founded in 2012 to perform at the festival in the village that bears its name in the southernmost part of Sweden. As such it is essentially a showcase, both of their own talents and of their fruitful relationship with recorder virtuoso Dan Laurin, and very effective it is, considering their particular strengths. ‘Individual voices are given ample space’, claims their group biography, and for once you can hear precisely what they mean. How much better for their natural expressive exuberance and freedom to be let loose in a mixed, presumably concert-derived programme rather than some sober one-composer set!
From the almost too mannered stately opening of Telemann’s Hamburger Ebb’ und Flut to the two-speed Bourrée pairing in the same piece, and from the expansive opening of Corelli’s Christmas Concerto to the gentle set-down at the end of the thrilling finale of the same composer’s Op 6 No 4, there is an infectiousness to the interpretative energy of the music-making. The rhetorical daring and overspilling ornamentation are irresistible too, and must have made those Swedish summer evenings rock. With soloist Anna Paradiso they make the finale of Bach’s F major Harpsichord Concerto, arranged from the Fourth Brandenburg and already one of its composer’s most coursingly exciting, more scintillating than ever.
Perhaps there is a price to be paid for all this. Ensemble is not always precise, and the use of solo recorders instead of violins in the Corelli concertos, together with the overall individuality of the performances, may mean that these do not make ideal ‘reference’ performances of these pieces, if that is what you want. The recorded balance seems rather close on some of its soloists too. But hey, the best thing to do with these fresh-faced Swedes is surely simply to enjoy their playing and say thank you for the music!