Francesco Durante (born Frattamaggiore 1684, died Naples 1755) was a pupil of Alessandro Scarlatti at the Conservatorio di San Onofrio, but also studied at Rome under Pasquini. His compositions combine the severe style of the Roman school with the melodic imagination of the Neapolitan. Most of his works are sacred, many surviving only in manuscript, and during his life little was published. Yet this F minor Concerto Grosso fully reveals Durante’s talents, and indeed bears comparison with the best examples of Handel and Corelli. Each movement captures a mood by the tension of unexpected harmonies and instrumental colours. Already the opening chromaticisms are ominous, then the double fugue is vivid in its rhythms and sequences. The mood of the fourth movement is plaintively romantic in its use of a solo quartet and the finale, while simple in texture, is rich in tension.
from notes by Hyperion Records Ltd © 1988