Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Albinoni's Largo

In my last post I mentioned "a piece by Albinoni" on a Diapason cover CD. The music in question is the first movement (Largo) of his Sonata a cinque op.2 no.2, from this magnificent recording by Ensemble 415, on the Zig-Zag Territoires label, released about 6 months ago. Astonishingly, this is actually the first recording of the work.
Albinoni, of course, is best known for his "Adagio", a piece of music actually written in the 1950s by Italian musicologist Remo Giazotto. Presumably Giazotto, who was a scholar of Albinoni's music, reckoned he'd have more success if he passed his own composition off as that of a better-known figure ("better-known" being very much a relative term). And so "Albinoni's Adagio" joined "Pachelbel's Canon" as a baroque one-hit wonder. People with only a faint awareness of classical music have heard of Albinoni, and it always comes as a great disappointment to them when they can't find anything else by Albinoni that's half as good.
But when I heard that piece on the Diapason disc, I thought "aha!". Here it is at last - OK, not as emotive as the Adagio, and certainly shorter, but arguably more beautiful, a combination of serenity and understated passion; actually quite reminiscent of the Pachelbel work. And it can for the sake of convenience be referred to as "Albinoni's Largo". This is everything it needs to be an instant classic.
And now you must listen to the whole track (in fact the whole sonata) on YouTube. Then go buy the album.

No comments: