- Concerti Grossi (12) in 7 parts done from the Lessons for Harpsichord by Scarlatti
Charles Avison's concertos after Domenico Scarlatti -- often referred to as the "Avison Scarlatti concerti" -- are a landmark in British music. It's sometimes hard to get a grip on what makes them Avison, and indeed, in older recordings, one can find them accredited to Scarlatti alone with Avison merely indicated as an arranger, if at all -- certainly they have unjustly overshadowed Avison's own, very fine, original concerti. Despite his industrious achievement in producing keyboard sonatas, Scarlatti never composed a single concerto -- Avison made this set of 12 by arranging and adapting Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas and through adding movements of his own -- they really should be considered original works of Avison, as here, but there are still plenty strands of Scarlatti DNA in the mix. No matter how you "splice" it, just about the best recording ever offered of the Avison/Scarlatti is this exceptionally fine one by Roy Goodman and the Brandenburg Consort for Hyperion, made yet more attractive price-wise in this Dyad reissue. Roy Goodman leads the Brandenburg Consort with his violin and is the primary violin soloist in the concerti; one wonders if this was not Goodman's finest hour as a soloist -- his playing is direct, clear, and full-throated. The ensemble as a whole is no less so, contributing ample amounts of color to the ripieno yet achieving absolute unanimity of purpose as a group. Hyperion's recording is very forward, but not too loud -- just right to make this relatively small band come across with a big sound. If you are a fan of Baroque concerti -- and there is every indication that most folks who like Baroque music at all like the concerti as well -- then Roy Goodman leading the Brandenburg Consort's Charles Avison: 12 Concerti Grossi after sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti cannot fail to appeal.