Schmelzer: Sonatae unarum fidium; Sonata ‘Victori der Christen’; Sonata ‘Cucu’

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COMPOSERS: Schmelzer
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Sonatae unarum fidium; Sonata ‘Victori der Christen’; Sonata ‘Cucu’
PERFORMER: Romanesca
CATALOGUE NO: HMU 907143
Romanesca follow their excellent recordings of sonatas by Vivaldi and Biber with this disc of Schmelzer’s Sonatae unarum fidium. Published in 1664, these were the first ever solo violin sonatas by a non-Italian (violin music had originated in Italy earlier in the century) and they established Schmelzer as one of Europe’s most celebrated violinist-composers, before his death from the plague in 1680. He certainly influenced the younger Biber, who brazenly plagiarised Schmelzer’s music.

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These lovely sonatas, with their volatile contrasts of graceful reverie and bravura flourish, exude an air of genial insouciance. Andrew Manze beautifully conveys their improvisatory spirit, switching effortlessly from rapture to frenzy. Graham Lock