Music at the Habsburg Court: Concertos and Sonatas by Vivaldi, Ragazzi, Umstatt and Timmer

Reviewed on Wed 24 Aug, 2016

The real meat of the album comes in the form of works by the frankly obscure trio of Angelo Ragazzi, Joseph Umstatt and Joseph Ferdinand Timmer,

Vivaldi is the poster-boy here, with his A minor violin concerto from the Op 9, La Cetra, vibrantly performed by violinist and conductor Andrés Gabetta and his eponymous ensemble. But the real meat of the album comes in the form of works by the frankly obscure trio of Angelo Ragazzi, Joseph Umstatt and Joseph Ferdinand Timmer, none of whom are likely ever to achieve (however belatedly) the celebrity of their famous Venetian contemporary. All three offer something Vivaldi-ish: Viennese native Umstatt and Naples-born Ragazzi serving up lots of Vivaldi-esque violin fireworks. But Timmer’s is the real find, a previously unrecorded concerto of quite substantial length (the opening 'Allegro' some seven-and-a-half minutes) that, while not amounting to a lot more, is certainly an attractive piece. In the end, this recital may remind you why Vivaldi’s fame is so well-deserved; but the opportunity to explore concertos by his contemporaries is always welcome.
–Mark Walker