Ensemble, Special Project
North America
Acclaim
 
The best recordings of JS Bach's Brandenburg Concertos

Alessandrini never drives the music too hard, bending to the lilt of the dance and prizing supple elasticity and meaningful rhetorical gestures over mechanical rhythms and mindless speeding.

Every concerto balances the instruments differently. In Nos 1 and 2 the brass grab the limelight and deliver their parts with spittle-rattling glee, while in No. 5 Alessandrini, as soloist, is careful to balance his harpsichord with the gentler solo flute and violin.

This set offers an irresistibly expansive and effusive approach, right down to the immediacy of the recording and the vast breadth of the sound.

Oliver Condy, Classical-music.com
Review: Variations on Variations

"Alessandrini's own introductory words are, 'What you hear makes no pretence at orthodoxy. It is, rather, a divertissement, a subtle intellectual pleasure.' However, that's rather playing thins down, because while there is subtlety here, it's a subtly wrought brilliance that's far more than mere divertissement."

Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Gramophone
The Best Classical Music Performances of 2017

The too-little I heard at Carnegie Hall’s rich February festival, celebrating the Venetian Republic, was all superb, including Vivaldi’s “Juditha Triumphans,” in a performance of Technicolor vividness by Andrea Marcon and the Venice Baroque Orchestra, and an elegantly restrained take on Monteverdi’s “L’Incoronazione di Poppea” from Rinaldo Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano.

Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times
Bach arr Alessandrini: Variations on Variations CD review - revelatory Goldbergs and More

"the revelation here is the Goldberg Variations, reimagined as a breathtaking romp. The canons are strictly done, but in the freer variations Rinaldo Alessandrini adds parts at will and dazzles with the virtuosity of his ensemble's playing."

Nicholas Kenyon, The Guardian
Review: Concerto Italiano: L'Orfeo

L’Orfeo could have, in another director’s hands, dwelled into stifling and heavy territory. Fortunately, there was a natural informality to the performance, a sense of experiment in both music and vocals. Combined, this gave the old opera a very modern twist.

Ena Grozdanic, The Adelaide Review
Adelaide Festival review 2017: Concerto Italiano

The full-throated vocal intensity of the entire cast brought the familiar story to vivid, pulsating life, forcefully revealing the original purpose of opera as a medium to move the passions of its listeners.

Who could not be moved in the scene when the death of Eurydice is related to Orpheus, or again when Eurydice bids a final farewell to Orpheus and returns to Hades?

Stephen Whittington, Adelaide Now
BWW Review: What's Really Old is New Again, with Poppea from Concerto Italiano at Carnegie Hall

I must admit that I was a little nervous when I saw the size of the ensemble...but I needn't have been. As soon as they started playing...I knew that all was right with the world--or, at least, for that moment, with these musicians, in this temple of music.

Richard Sasanow, Broadway World
Breathlessly Spiraling Bach: The 8 Best Classical Music Moments This Week

"Everyone understandably looks forward to the very end of Monteverdi’s “Poppea” and the aching duet “Pur ti miro.” But with Rinaldo Alessandrini leading the Concerto Italiano in the work at Carnegie Hall, I found myself unexpectedly moved by what came just before: the coronation scene and “A te, sovrana augusta,” the Roman tribunes and consuls’ darkly stirring acclamation of an empress who has risen to power through lust and ambition."

Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times
A Musical Handshake Spanning Centuries: Venice in New York

The "Poppea" performance, with Rinaldo Alessandrini leading his little band of period instrumentalists and an excellent cast of singers led b Miah Persson and Sara Mingardo, was a fitting conclusion to a festival that must surely be counted a success in musical terms.

Zachary Woolfe, et al., The New York Times
Classical Year in Review: Passion, high-quality performances in superior efforts

Setting up high expectations in February, Concerto Italiano presented a splendid reading of Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers, director Rinaldo Alessandrini giving his 23 executants every encouragement while investing the richly-coloured score with generous vigour. Several bodies have worked through this pivotal work over past decades, but none with as much devotion and pinpoint clarity.

Clive O'Connell, The Age
The 50 greatest Bach recordings

How do you embark on a new addition to the vast pile of Brandenburg Concerto recordings? Do you go for a radical interpretation set to make people jump, laugh or recoil in surprise? Or do you perform them more or less as other good performers have but just try to do it better? Rinaldo Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano have gone for the latter approach and succeeded brilliantly. There is perhaps no Baroque group around today that can do the simple and obvious things to such exciting effect.

Gramophone
Concerto Italiano review: Remarkable exhibition of luminous work

This interpretation of Monteverdi's luminous Marian Vespers by Concerto Italiano made a remarkable exhibition of period music singing and playing. Director Rinaldo Alessandrini‚Äč has honed his version of this pivotal Renaissance masterpiece to the point where most surfaces gleam and the performers show unflappable security in their work.

Clive O'Connell, The Sydney Morning Herald
Concerto Italiano/Alessandrini review - a finely shaped programme of Monteverdi songs

There are few performers better-versed in the music of Claudio Monteverdi than Rinaldo Alessandrini and the ensemble he founded 30 years ago, Concerto Italiano. In 2007 they brought a five-part madrigals series to Edinburgh; this year their visit was all-too-brief – a single concert done and dusted in less than an hour. I could have happily sat through several times that.

Kate Molleson, The Guardian
Caccini: L'Euridice: Concerto Italiano/Alessandrini - review

The long stretches of recitative, interspersed with brief, aria-like episodes and even more occasional choruses, unfold the narrative with minimal fuss, so that the story-telling power of the music is never compromised. It's a must for anyone curious about the beginnings of opera in the early 17th century.

Andrew Clements, The Guardian
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