Programme Note | Fabio Biondi & Europa Galante

Programme Note

Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741)
Dorilla in Tempe RV 709, overture

Violin Concerto in C major RV 189
I. Larghetto
II. Allegro non molto e pianissimo
III. Largo
IV. Allegro molto

Bassoon Concerto in G minor RV 496
I. (No tempo)
II. Largo
III. (No tempo)

Violin Concerto in F major RV 286
I. Largo molto e spiccato
II. (Allegro moderato)
III. Largo
IV. Allegro non molto

– Interval –

Bajazet/Tamerlano RV 703, overture

Violin Concerto in B flat major RV 371
I. Allegro ma poco
II. Larghetto
III. Allegro

Violin Concerto in B minor RV 390
I. Andante molto
II. Allegro non molto
III. Larghetto
IV. Allegro
Europa Galante
Fabio Biondi, Conductor & Baroque Violin
Fabio Ravasi, Beatrice Scaldini & Barbara Altobello, 1st Violin
Andrea Rognoni, Silvia Falavigna & Rossella Borsoni, 2nd Violin
Stefano Marcocchi & Simone Laghi, Viola
Alessandro Andriani & Perikli Pite, Violoncello
Patxi Montero, Double-bass
Giangiacomo Pinardi, Theorbo
Paola Poncet, Harpsichord

Sergio Azzolini, Baroque Bassoon

Fabio Biondi

As the first sentence of the biography of violinist and conductor Fabio Biondi stands: “Driven by a deep cultural curiosity, Fabio Biondi is a musician ceaselessly in pursuit of a style free from constraints.” Began under the guidance of pioneers of learned interpretation, then significantly collaborated with Les Musiciens du Louvre and The English Concert, and eventually decided to find his own ensemble Europa Galante in 1990. The Guardian has called him a bit factually “a virtuoso beyond any reproach”, as Charlotte Gardner (Gramophone) labelled his Paganini’s Sonatas recording as “an absolute banger”. Fabio Biondi’s violin skill is only underlined by invitations to solo recitals at Carnegie Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London or the Cité de la Musique in Paris. As a conductor, he performed with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, hr-Sinfonieorchester, Bergen Philharmonic and Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Between 2015–2018, he was the music director of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia and for eleven years, until 2016, he held the position of artistic director of the baroque music section of the Symphony Orchestra in Stavanger. Since 2011, he has been a member of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, in 2015 he was named an Officer of the National Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture and in 2019 he was awarded the Medal of Courage and Veracity of the Polish Government for outstanding cultural achievements.

Sergio Azzolini

After listening to the third album from the complete recording of Vivaldi’s bassoon concerts, which Sergio Azzolini has been recording for Naïve since 2015, Lindsay Kemp wrote about him for Gramophone: “The simpler the music, the more Azzolini can enchant you with a tiny curl.” He himself compares Vivaldi’s bassoon concerts to the comic character Harlequin from the comedia dell’arte. A native of Bolzano, he is an extremely versatile bassoonist who, in addition to playing the modern instrument, also plays the baroque bassoon. In this field, he has collaborated as a soloist with Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Concentus Musicus Wien, L’Aura Soave Cremona or Accademia Bizantina. In 2013, he founded his own early music ensemble, L’Onda Armonica. Besides the Vivaldi Edition recording for Naïve, we can find his recordings at EMI, Sony or Chandos. Sergio Azzolini is a winner of ARD Munich Competition and Prague Spring International Music Competitions. Since 1998 he has been teaching at the University of Music in Basel, Switzerland.

Europa Galante

Since its establishment in 1990, the Italian ensemble Europa Galante has been one of the absolute world leaders among ensembles dealing with informed interpretation. Its core repertoire lies in the work of Italian authors of the 17th and 18th centuries, and the music of Antonio Vivaldi occupies more than an honorable place in it. The Le Quattro Stagioni recording became the album of the year in more than five countries. We can find operas such as Bazajet, Oracolo in Messenia and Ercole sul Termodonte in the discography of the ensemble, released at Warner Classics in cooperation with stars such as Joyce DiDonato, Diana Damrau, Philippe Jaroussky, Vivica Genaux or Rolando Villazón. So far, the last act is Vivaldi’s opera Agrippo for Naïve – project, which should also be performed in Vienna, Madrid, Seville and Shanghai. Europa Galante regularly performs in the most prestigious halls from Rome to Tokyo (Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vienna Musikverein, Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Lincoln Center in New York, Sydney Opera House or Suntory Hall in Tokyo). Since 2016, the ensemble has worked closely with the Chopin Festival in Warsaw, where every year he performs one of the operas of the bel canto period – Verdi, Rossini, Bellini and others. “For those who love early music, they are a legend. In a world that is philologically insignificant and musically starchy, they are like a seismic shock. Nowadays, more refined than ever before, but not at the cost of losing a soul.” (La Repúbblica, 2019)

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