Dietrich Buxtehude Trio Sonatas

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Dietrich Buxtehude
LABELS: Challenge
ALBUM TITLE: Dietrich Buxtehude Trio Sonatas
WORKS: Trio Sonatas, Op. 2
PERFORMER: Catherine Manson (violin), Paolo Pandolfo (viola de gamba), Ton Koopman (harpsichord/organ), Mike Fentross (lute)


In the concert hall, Buxtehude’s Trio Sonatas are the undersung heroes of the Baroque chamber repertoire, receiving fewer performances than Corelli, Handel or JS Bach. That strikes me as baffling, given Buxtehude’s companiable inventiveness. Each Sonata is filled with incisive contrapuntal discourse, cheerful banter and soulful soliloquy. Happily, on disc they’ve been more handsomely served by the likes of Trio Sonnerie, as well as a dashing ensemble led by John Holloway (this latter, currently re-released on Naxos, an unassailable bargain).

Now, Ton Koopman ‘signs off’ another genre in his Buxtehude ‘Complete Works’ edition with the Op. 2 Sonatas published in 1696. As with his disc of Op. 1, Koopman adds lute and chamber organ to a continuo that displays illuminating sensitivity. His ensemble might cohere brilliantly as a team, but each player displays individuality and personality too: Paolo Pandolfo’s eloquent solo gamba Adagio complements Catherine Manson’s excitable violin flights of fancy in the Sonata in A. The music-making is infectiously unbuttoned and urbane, shot through with flamboyance, tenderness and wit. Koopman also encourages an airy, effortless spaciousness, while relishing the Trio Sonatas’ arrestingly quirky phantasticus elements. And the recording is close enough to capture immediacy and vitality.


Paul Riley