I’ve been planning this move to a bigger house with a bigger listening room for most of the year, and since it’s such a secluded location I’ve been chomping at the bit to crank the stereo as loud as I want–which turns out is not as loud as I think. Once I assembled the system, made up of mostly brand-new review gear, I chose the perfect recording to christen the listening room. Was it Chocolate Chip Trip? No, it was not. I chose The Trondheim Concertos, from 2L Recordings in Norway.
Words and Photos by Marc Phillips
Okay, maybe CCT was my second choice. But The Trondheim Concertos provided me with the all-too-important confirmation that my new listening room was pretty close to ideal. I’m not talking about loud, or deep, but definitely full. The nine-piece Baroque Ensemble of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra performs these baroque compositions–from Joseph Meck, Johan Berlin and Antonio Vivaldi, with the common theme being manuscripts that are currently preserved in the Gunnerus Library in Trondheim. I do have a warm place in my heart for chamber music, especially that from the Baroque Era, but The Trondheim Concertos drew my attention through its combination of beautiful, flowing music and the usual astonishing sound quality from 2L.
The gift of The Trondheim Concertos doesn’t stop there, however. This is a small baroque ensemble, but its membership of instruments is varied in a way that injects life and originality into the performance. Just as Trio Mediaeval’s An Old Hall Ladymass perplexed and enchanted me with its use of the organetto, this recording reveals a steady menu of surprise through such period instruments as fortepiano, violone, lute, theorbo–in addition to the more traditional harpsichord, pipe organ and strings.
That’s why The Trondheim Concertos is the right 2L recording at the right time. My larger listening room, along with some top-notch review components, have provided the space and the ideal tonality to present these instruments carefully, with perfect imaging, so that I can relax and listen and wallow in these uncommon timbres. I’m still unpacking all the LPs and CDs after the move, pondering whether I should take this opportunity to re-organize my music collection, but the urgency of listening to a wide range of my favorite music has been curbed by this new star.