RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR
‘Langlois de Swarte’s ornamentation – swerving, bluesy, capricious – sounds utterly improvised and untethered to ink’
Mark Seow is blown away by baroque violin-playing of the highest calibre from Théotime Langlois de Swarte, gloriously supported by the musicians of Les Ombres
Leclair . Locatelli . Vivaldi Leclair Violin Concertos – Op 7 No 5; Op 10 No 3 Locatelli Violin Concerto, Op 3 No 8 Vivaldi Preludes – after Trio Sonata, RV60; after Violin Concerto, RV355. Violin Concertos – ‘Per Anna Maria, RV179a; RV384 Théotime Langlois de Swarte vn Les Ombres / Margaux Blanchard, Sylvain Sartre Harmonia Mundi F HMM90 2649 (77’ • DDD)
I’ll start by getting all the bad things about this album out of the way. We are told that Théotime Langlois de Swarte plays on a Jacob Stainer ‘violin’ of 1665 but with an ‘archet’ by Pierre Tourte. There’s some questionable intonation in one ascending sequence in the final movement of Vivaldi’s RV384. There, that’s it: a single typo of language inconsistency in the booklet notes and two not even very dodgy bars. The rest of my job is much harder, if not the hardest task in the business: to describe excellence itself.
Alongside reviewing for Gramophone, I’m a baroque violinist and have been for just over a decade. Post-conservatoire life, particularly in London, can be difficult: one gets sucked into a slew of Messiahs, the Passion circuit, the seemingly incessant rotation between Dido and Acis. For sure, there is joy in these patterns – the corporeal familiarity of fingerwork, a smile
8 GRAMOPHONE GRAMOPHONE RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR 2022
O M B R E S
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P H O T O G R A P H Y
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