Corbetta, Sanz, Matteis & Le Cocq

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Corbetta,Matteis & Le Cocq,Sanz
LABELS: Deux-Elles
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Folias!
WORKS: Clarines y trompetas; add works
PERFORMER: Taro Takeuchi (guitar), Reiko Ichise (viola da gamba), Eligio Quinteiro (narrator)
CATALOGUE NO: DXL 1030
This is Taro Takeuchi’s first solo disc, and the young Japanese-born Baroque guitar-player, now based in Europe, makes an outstanding impression. His programme is devoted to the most technically testing – and musically exhilarating – material written for the guitar in the 17th century. He plays two instruments, an original attributed to the Venetian Matteo Sellas, made around 1650, and a modern copy by Martyn Hodgson of a French original, made by René Voboam in 1641.

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The disc’s title implies an entire collection of pieces based on the well-known formula of La folia. In fact there are only three, by the Bolognese composer Francesco Corbetta, the Spaniard Gaspar Sanz and, forming a magnificent climax to the disc, the Frenchman François Le Cocq. Those who crave their ground basses will be reassured to learn that there are also two chaconnes and a passacaglia (both closely related forms). All are compelling works, exciting and fiery, and in Takeuchi’s hands wonderfully spontaneous in feeling.

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Takeuchi plays sweet and subtle numbers, too, but surely the most idiosyncratic music here is Sanz’s Clarines y trompetas, a sequence of tiny pieces based on military trumpet calls of various nations and regions, some bearing slightly naughty names. Spanish actor Eligio Quinteiro announces each piece. And instrumental variety comes with the use of a viola da gamba in three of four pieces by the Neapolitan-born English émigré Nicola Matteis. Reiko Ichise plays it beautifully. Stephen Pettitt