E Abaco: Violin Sonata in G minor, Op. 4 No. 11; Brescianello: Sonata for 2 Violins & Continuo in B minor; F Mancini: Sonata for Recorder, 2 Violins & Continuo in G minor; A Scarlatti: Sonata for Recorder, 2 Violins & Continuo in C minor; Tartini: Violin Sonata in E minor, Op. 1 No. 5; Vandini: Cello Sonata in A minor; Vivaldi: Flute Concerto in A minor, R108
Tabea Debus (recorder); La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler
Signum Classics SIGCD 663 70:48 mins
La Serenissima here charts the flourishing of Italian instrumental music in the early decades of the 1700s (the ‘Settecento’), with ports of call in Venice, Bologna and Naples. Alongside familiar wizards of Italian Baroque – Alessandro Scarlatti, Tartini and Vivaldi – are unsung names whose forgotten manuscripts have been dusted down by the ensemble’s director, Adrian Chandler.
From the shadows emerges cellist-composer Antonio Vandini, a colleague of both Tartini in Padua and Vivaldi in Venice, whose A minor Cello Sonata – a work by turns wistful, lyrical and virtuosic – is expressively realised by soloist Vladimir Waltham. Then there’s the Venetian Evaristo Felice Dall’Abaco, and if his G minor Violin Sonata is harmonically rather earthbound, it just about takes wing in this account. Perhaps the disc’s most interesting revelation is Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello’s Sonata for two violins and continuo – its softly whispering B minor Largo a particular delight. Here, and on their 2020 recording Extra Time, Chandler and La Serenissima unveil a composer of no mean talent.
Lovely, too, are the three chamber sonatas for recorder, two violins and continuo (one each by Alessandro Scarlatti, Francesco Mancini and Vivaldi), which are graced by Tabea Debus’s exquisite recorder playing. Throughout the disc, La Serenissima’s performances are characterised by liquid melodies and supple embellishments, lithe rhythms and eloquent phrasing.