COMPOSERS: Geminiani & Tartini,Locatelli,Mascitti,Veracini
LABELS: Virgin Veritas
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Italian Violin Sonatas
WORKS: Works by Veracini, Locatelli, Mascitti, Geminiani & Tartini
PERFORMER: Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: 5 45588 2
The late-Baroque Italian violin sonata is somewhat neglected on CD compared with the concerto, so Fabio Biondi’s entertaining programme is welcome. A feature common to all five works here is virtuosity; another is the influence, to a greater or lesser extent, of Corelli. Veracini, Locatelli and Tartini were acknowledged masters of the violin sonata in their own lifetime, just as they were celebrated virtuosi of their instrument. Each is represented by a piece calling for brilliant passagework, embellishments, wide shifts and some multiple stopping. Beside these, Geminiani’s A minor Sonata, though not lacking in inspiration, seems conservative.
But the real discovery is Neapolitan composer Michele Mascitti’s elaborate Psyché, a sonata in ten tableaux, containing a lively and elegant discourse between solo violin and continuo. Mascitti spent most of his life in Paris and this shows in many of the music’s rhythms and inflections; but there is no disguising either his Italian roots or his Corellian heritage in the opening ‘Grand air’. This is a delightful sonata/suite, which will disappoint few listeners. Biondi and his excellent continuo players bring out its varied expressive nuances with character and sensibility. Only some of the ornaments and intonation in the Veracini and Tartini sonatas weakened an otherwise rewarding release. Nicholas Anderson