A spirited approach
Performances by the Corelli Consort and soloists,
Corelli Music CM 001
A first recording issued under their own banner highlights the spirited approach of this Estonian group, supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and Estonian Classical Radio for which they have been performing since their formation in 1992. The speciality of the group is performance on baroque instruments in historic buildings, the castles, manor houses and churches for which the music was designed, and which are the pride of Estonian architectural heritage. They compare their performances to the cleaning of old paintings, from which has been lifted the additions of later centuries.
The programme on this CD consists of five short 18th century pieces, the first two featuring Peeter Sarapuu playing a perhaps rather noisy loose-keyed baroque bassoon but with eloquence, as in the Largo of a trio sonata by Boismortier
[listen -- track 2, 0:27-1:40]
and in the attractive Sonata V for bassoon and basso continuo by Michel Corrette, a Parisian organist whose writings and treatises are generally far more entertaining than his compositions
[listen -- track 7, 0:54-1:32].
There are a group of pieces from Rameau's 1724 Pieces de Clavecin collection, played neatly by renowned harpsichordist Imbi Tarum, and a Sonata in G for violin and basso continuo by Telemann, played by Mail Sildos, at whose instigation the ensemble gave its first concert in June 1992
[listen -- track 11, 0:30-1:02].
The countertenor Risto Joost, who is just 25, is also a conductor who has worked with several major European choirs. His performance of Telemann's Advent cantata Erwacht zum Kriegen (No 65), though unremarkable, is none the less a pleasant rarity, and brings together the whole ensemble which includes Villu Vihermäe, the continuo cellist [listen -- track 18, 0:15-1:32].
Members of the Corelli Consort and soloists at a concert in Parnu, Estonia, in January 2005. Photo © Keith Bramich
It is a worthy CD, though apparently promotional -- one that is about the ensemble rather than the music; there are short biographies of the players and their instruments, but nothing about the composers, the pieces or the general historical context. Perhaps an opportunity missed to relate the music to some of those admirable baroque buildings Corelli Consort have been associated with over the last decade.