To celebrate the 300th anniversary of the death of the violinist and composer Corelli, the chamber ensemble Orpheus Britannicus presented a programme entirely of selections from his 48 trio-sonatas and 12 violin sonatas.
It is a pity that Corelli’s music is not so popular today as that of his Italian contemporaries Vivaldi and Albinoni for, perhaps unlike these two, Corelli was a master of the craft and skill of composition.
The programme was well chosen: eight contrasting trio-sonatas from his four opuses, and two violin sonatas from his Op. 5 collection.
The two sonatas chosen were the most technically demanding of the set, each ably played in turn by Kelly McCusker and Theresa Caudle, with added stylish ornamentation
In the trio-sonatas I felt that, although the violins had plenty of French polish, their playing perhaps lacked some of the extrovert Italian flair, a characteristic which was ably supplied in the continuo department of Joseph Crouch (cello) and Andrew Arthur on harpsichord.
As one contemporary source put it: ‘The French aim to flatter and tickle ... the Italians are more lively in their productions.’
This was an excellent concert, much appreciated by the audience of 60 or more.