Pisendel, Vivaldi, Albinoni

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Albinoni,Pisendel,Vivaldi
LABELS: Avie
WORKS: Violin Sonata in D; Violin Sonata in E minor; Violin Sonata in C, RV 2; Violin Sonata in C minor, RV 6; Saraband in C; Violin Sonata in B flat, So 32; Violin Sonata in G minor, So 33
PERFORMER: La Serenissima
CATALOGUE NO: AV 0018
This is the debut disc for La Serenissima, an ensemble of young British players. There’s plenty of Italianate lyricism in their performances of miscellaneous sonatas composed either for or by the extraordinary Baroque violinist Johann Georg Pisendel.

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It is an interesting idea to present an entire recital around a performer rather than a single composer, and Pisendel is a fascinating figure worthy of such attention: he studied with Heinichen, and became an admired colleague and friend of Vivaldi and Albinoni (both of whose works are featured here), also of Telemann, Hasse, Quantz and possibly even Bach.

Adrian Chandler fills Pisendel’s shoes impressively: flamboyantly articulate in the fast movements, more succinct and sweet in slower melodic material. Cellist Gareth Deats and harpsichordist Robert Howarth give him excellent support, and at almost 80 minutes the disc is undeniably a generous survey.

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The real merit of this disc, though, is the chance it gives to compare the inventive flair of Vivaldi and Albinoni with Pisendel’s own virtuoso creations. By contrast with his Venetian friends, Pisendel’s music has less emotional depth and a hint more aggression. If this fine disc is not quite essential listening, it is certainly thoroughly researched, erudite and illuminating. David Vickers