Collection: Early Italian Violin Sonatas

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Castello,Cima,Marini,Stradella,Uccellini
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Works by Stradella, Marini, Uccellini, Castello & Cima
PERFORMER: Convivium
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 66985

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Convivium is an ensemble consisting of a violin, cello, organ or harpsichord and theorbo or guitar. The burden of responsibility, in respect both of melody and virtuosity, is carried by violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch, who has chosen music by composers who made vital contributions to the early solo violin repertoire. In rough order of seniority, its representatives here are Giovanni Paolo Cima, Biagio Marini, Dario Castello, Marco Uccellini and Alessandro Stradella.

Their violin writing is idiomatic, often improvisatory in gesture and contour, spontaneous in discourse, and virtuosic. One or more of these qualities are to be found in each of the 17 pieces on the disc but they foregather with admirable cohesion in the two Castello Sonate a due and in the second of the Cima pieces, where Richard Tunnicliffe’s five-string cello comes into its own in writing that is both fanciful and exuberant. Unless you are a string specialist, this is not perhaps a programme to be listened to without a tea or coffee break.

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The reason has nothing to do with monotony, but rather that the wonderful expressive variety of the music, its conceits and its caprice make a stronger impact in smaller, concentrated units than in lengthier ones. An interesting and carefully prepared project. Nicholas Anderson