Lully, Marini, Corelli, Purcell, Blow, Mayr, Pezel & Muffat

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COMPOSERS: Blow,Corelli,Lully,Marini,Mayr,Pezel & Muffat,Purcell
LABELS: Archiv
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Chaconnes
WORKS: Chaconnes and Passacaglias by Lully, Marini, Corelli, Purcell, Blow, Mayr, Pezel & Muffat
PERFORMER: Musica Antiqua Köln/Reinhard Goebel
CATALOGUE NO: 453 418-2
‘The innocent purpose of this anthology is solely and simply to fill the general listener’s cup with an hour of harmonious pleasure in 3/4 time and to open the door, for the connoisseur, to the 17th-century composer’s workshop.’ This, then, in the words of Reinhard Goebel, director of Musica Antiqua Köln, is the raison d’être of the present disc. Nine consecutive chaconnes may sound a little too much of a good thing, but the wonderfully varied melodic patterns that skilful composers could develop over an ostinato or ground bass fully justify the programme.

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Only one of the pieces here, Purcell’s Chacony Z730, will be immediately familiar to listeners other than specialists; for the rest, Goebel has explored some of the byways of the 17th century, omitting the great examples of the late Baroque chaconne by Bach and Rameau in favour of seldom-heard examples by Marini, Mayr, Pezel and others.

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The Cologne musicians’ carefully prepared menu begins with one of the noblest pieces on the disc, a chaconne with oboes and bassoon from Lully’s opera Phaëton; thereafter the exclusively string textures diminish and swell almost palindromically to reach a climax with a finely sustained chaconne by Georg Muffat. Disciplined and animated playing make the release stimulating and entertaining. Nicholas Anderson