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There are virtually no fireworks here. But there is work. And there is fire. Listen especially to Michael Lewin’s arrangement of Rameau’s ‘The Arts and the Hours’ from Les Boréades, which sits very well indeed alongside pianist Víkingur Ólafsson’s (DG, 4/20). Or Milo?’s transcription of Bach’s Chaconne from the D minor Partita for solo violin. Or the Adagio from Marcello’s D minor Oboe Concerto. The first, for Milo?’s lingering caresses of Rameau’s deceptively simple descending phrases. The second, for the extraordinary pacing and pathos of his conception of Bach’s cathedral in miniature. The third, for his ability to project a true cantabile line on the guitar: never an easy thing to pull off.
The Marcello, like the Vivaldi and Boccherini, feature the very fine Arcangelo and their director Jonathan Cohen. It always intrigues me when periodinstrument outfits team up with pianists or classical guitarists: the results are not always ideal. Here, however, thanks to the obvious chemistry and a shared sense of style and balance, it’s a match made in heaven.
I don’t want to give a false impression of ‘Baroque’ as some kind of quasiphilosophical chill album. The faster Vivaldi concerto movements and the Boccherini Fandango are as thrilling as you could hope for, the playing blisteringly good. But Milo? – and this goes for his superb Scarlatti, too – is primarily interested here in delicacy, in gradual unfoldings. And an authentic tenderness for things past.
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