Ziani, Furchheim, Thieme & Fux

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COMPOSERS: Furchheim,Thieme & Fux,Ziani
LABELS: Vanguard
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Sonatas from Dresden
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Musica Antiqua Köln/Reinhard Goebel
Reinhard Goebel more than any musician of the present deserves praise for championing the collective musical talent of the Dresden court during the 17th and early 18th centuries. Thanks to him and his highly disciplined Musica Antiqua Köln, the dusty archives of Heinichen, Pisendel and many others have been more thoroughly aired than ever before. This release consists almost entirely of 17th-century pieces for instrumental ensemble, by three composers with Dresden connections whose names will be unfamiliar to most readers. Johann Wilhelm Furchheim and Clemens Thieme will be unrepresented even in the most assiduously assembled CD collections, yet their music, amounting to over half the programme is, rhythmically and texturally, among the most engaging in the present company. Pietro Andrea Ziani was Venetian, and a contemporary of Cavalli; but he worked in Dresden for a couple of years during the mid-1660s, so his credentials are in order for the present purpose. A fourth composer featured here is Fux who, though far and away the best-known musician among them, had no direct association with Dresden at all. But his music was popular there for a time, so I suppose that’s all right. Musica Antiqua Köln plays a graceful Rondeau by him for violino piccolo, four violins, bassoon and continuo. This piece, with Furchheim’s A major ‘Sonatella’, are high peaks in a mainly attractive and unusual programme, though I should perhaps add that it does have its austere moments. The string sound has a slight acidity from time to time but it did little to spoil my enjoyment. Nicholas Anderson