Corelli Violin Sonatas, Op. 5

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COMPOSERS: Arcangelo Corelli
LABELS: Linn
ALBUM TITLE: Corelli Violin Sonatas, Op. 5
WORKS: Violin Sonatas, Op. 5
PERFORMER: Avison Ensemble/Pavlo Benosiuk
CATALOGUE NO: CKD412

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This disc in the Avison Ensemble’s project to record the complete Corelli chamber music is devoted to his Op. 5 collection of violin sonatas – works that swept Europe by storm when they were first published in 1700. Recent recordings include Accademia Bizantina, Purcell Quartet, Trio Corelli, Trio Sonnerie, and a particularly charismatic version from Andrew Manze with harpsichordist Richard Egarr. One of the most immediate differences between these versions is their approach to the continuo, the Avison Ensemble favouring the varied timbres and textures of an ensemble (variously harpsichord or organ, archlute, Baroque guitar and cello) rather than solo harpsichord.

Violinist Pavlo Beznosiuk offers lyrical, intuitively musical performances, imbued with a placid, unpretentious grace, while his spontaneous ornamentation adds a dash of Baroque bravura. Beznosiuk is well matched by the outstanding continuo players Paula Chateauneuf, Roger Hamilton and Richard Tunnicliffe – the quartet conversing with the ease and familiarity of old friends. The set’s dozen works culminate in the fêted, and much imitated, set of variations on La Folia, its manic mood swings inspired by a frenzied Portuguese folk dance. Beznosiuk captures the folk-like quality of the Folia’s origins, but the more virtuosic variations never quite catch fire (compare with Accademia Bizantina’s flashier performances or the jazzy freedom of Manze and Egarr). But this is a small caveat to what are otherwise poised and eloquent accounts. The Linn recording is luminous and sensitively balanced, with the potential for SACD enhancing a particularly
fine set.

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Kate Bolton