Pandolfi, Frescobaldi, Cima, Castello, Piccinini, etc

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Castello,Cima,etc,Frescobaldi,Pandolfi,Piccinini
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Phantasticus
WORKS: Works by Pandolfi, Frescobaldi, Cima, Castello, Piccinini,
PERFORMER: Romanesca
Violin music of early 17th-century Italy was a little-known backwater until someone alighted upon the perfect tag to market this disparate but fascinating repertoire: stylus phantasticus – ‘the fantastic style’. Virtuoso sonatas, flights of fantasy and rhetoric, striking harmonies, experiments to stretch the technical potential of a then new-fangled solo instrument – all these are qualities that characterise the style. Indeed, so varied and inventive is this music, that all you can expect is the unexpected. Romanesca’s disc includes a selection of violin sonatas by Cima, Corradini, Castello, Fontana and Pandolfi, interwoven with works for chitarrone and keyboard by Piccinini and Kapsberger. This is a sensitively planned programme, played with refreshing bravura and imagination. Andrew Manze lives up to his reputation as the Stéphane Grappelli of the Baroque violin – bending and flexing with breathtaking energy. And the passion and intensity of his playing should silence even the most hardened sceptic of the potential of gut strings to ‘hale souls out of men’s bodies’. With Nigel North and John Toll as sympathetic continuo players, a fine recorded sound and attractive packaging, this collection is genuinely phantasticus. Kate Bolton