> ARNE complete trio sonatas [PS]: Classical CD Reviews- Jun2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Thomas ARNE
Complete Trio Sonatas.
Collegium Musicum 90/Simon Standage
Rec 1998



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Arne’s seven Trio Sonatas, three in minor keys, published in 1757, have generally speaking, been less well regarded than other trio sonatas of their period. For example they have been thought inferior to Boyce’s twelve, recorded so successfully a few years ago by Hyperion. It has been suggested that the reason for this is their galant idiom, as compared indeed with Boyce and other contemporary British exponents, including Handel. If this is the case, it is hard to understand as they are well made works readily displaying Arne’s gift for melody and equally characteristic vitality.

It is good to see that they have at last been done justice, on CD at least. Colleguim Musicum 90, playing on 17th or 18th century instruments, perform them in splendid style. There is some variety in their layout; four sonatas (Nos 2,4,5 and 6) are in the standard slow-fast-slow-fast sequence. Nos 1 and 7 are in five movements with an extra dance movement added at or near the end, while No 3 has just three (slow-quickish-quick). They vary in length from 5½ to 15½ minutes.

And Galant they may be but they are also clearly aware of the English trio sonata tradition stretching back some seventy years to Purcell.

Strongly recommended.

Philip Scowcroft


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