> Anna Bon di Venezia [PW]: Classical Reviews- February 2002 MusicWeb-International

One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom






Anna Bon di VENEZIA (1740-1767)
Six Sonatas for Harpsichord (1757)
Sonata 1 in g minor
Allegro - Andantino - Allegretto
Sonata 2 in B flat major
Allegro non molto - Andante - Allegro
Sonata 3 in F major
Allegretto - Adagio - Minuetto
Sonata 4 in C major
Allegro - Largo - Allegro Assai
Sonata 5 in b minor
Allegro moderato - Adagio non molto - Allegro
Sonata 6 in C major
Allegro - Andante - Minuetto con Variazione
Paule van Parys - Harpsichord
Recorded in St Annenkapel, Diest in April 1995
PAVANE ADW 7338 [66.42]


Experience Classicsonline

This is an interesting disc that brings to light the activity of a female composer of the late Baroque era, with whose name this writer at least was not familiar. While there are one or two common names, Barbara Strozzi being probably the most well-known today, women composers were being heard, and their music published frequently throughout the 18th century. Anna Bon di Venezia (1740-1767) was just such an example, but rather than coming from a rich family which allowed her to indulge an interest in composition, she actually worked as a professional musician; in the service of Frederick, vice-Count of Brandenburg and his wife Wilhelmine von Bayreuth, who was a sister of the flute-playing King Frederick the Great. These six harpsichord sonatas are Bon di Venezia’s Opus 2, published when she was 17.

What this composer might have gone on to achieve we shall never know, for she died at the age of 27. The works show the clear influence of C.P.E. and even of J.C. Bach, and, while impressive as the work of a 17 year old, it is clear that Bon di Venezia was not a Mozart or a Mendelssohn. The sonatas are largely in two voices, and make much use of motivic figures based on arpeggio patterns, as was characteristic of the Mannheim school. However, the sense of development that C.P.E. Bach would have created; the impression that some triadic motifs and repeated chords were only a starting point for further invention; is not so apparent here. However, the sonatas are imbued throughout with a pleasant sense of movement and some lyrical melodic writing is a feature of the slow movements.

Paule van Parys has recorded music by a number of neglected keyboard composers, including Trazegnies and Grétry as well as the only set of harpsichord sonatas by Cherubini. Her playing on this disc is precise and accurate, but throughout she seems to be unwilling to really engage with the music, or to search for any greater depth within it. Admittedly the material tends more towards the ‘pleasant’ than the ‘thought-provoking’ but the performance is generally rather superficial. The dexterity is apparent, although there is a tendency to rush into the cadences, but there seems to be little effort to find the shape of the phrase and an unwillingness to experiment with those subtle variations of length that give the impression of ebb and flow at the harpsichord. It sometimes sounds like van Parys’ dinner was getting cold in the next room. The instrument, by Walter Maene, sounds well, with a round bass and a treble that possesses clarity without brittleness. It is also well recorded, with a good balance of the parts and a pleasantly domestic ambience. It is just a pity that van Parys does not seem to be willing to give a little more of herself to allow Anna Bon di Venezia to come across as anything more than ‘interesting’.

Peter Wells


Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.