> CORELLI Sonatas Gatti A402 [KM]: Classical Reviews- June 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713)

Sonate da chiesa, Opera terza
Sonate postume
Sonata Op. 3 II, in re maggiore
Sonata Op. 3 V, in re minore
Sonata Op. 3 VI, in sol maggiore
Sonata Op. 3 VII, in mi minore
Sonata Op. 3 VIII, in do maggiore
Sonata Op. 3 X, in la minore
Sonata in la maggiore, WoO 5
Sonata in sol minore, WoO 9
Sonata in sol minor, WoO 8
Sonata Op. 3 XII, in la maggiore
Sonata Op. 3 IX, in fa minore
Sonata Op. 3 III, in si bemolle maggiore
Sonata Op. 3 XI, in sol minore
Sonata Op. 3 I, in fa maggiore
Sonata Op. 3 IV, in si minore
Sonata in sol minor, WoO 7
Sonata in sol minor, WoO 6
Sonata in sol minor, WoO 10
Sonata in sol minor, WoO 4 (with trumpet)
Ensemble Aurora
Enrico Gatti
Recorded September 1996, September 1997, Granecy-le-Château church, France.
ARCANA A 902 [132.15]
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This set contains two discs of sonatas by Corelli, certainly the most important baroque Italian composer because of the influence his work had on other, later composers. The structure of his sonatas set the standard for later works, with their four movements alternating slow-fast-slow-fast. In addition, the slow movements were often quite simple, allowing the lead violinist to improvise over them.

Corelliís sonatas have a great deal of emotion and feeling, and the music is subtle and restrained. Its simplicity recalls the English viol consort, but the sound is more modern, more incisive. This is not the violin pyrotechnics of Vivaldi, but tasteful music that relaxes and soothes. The rich, lush sound this small ensemble provides is seductive and compelling. The recording is magnificent and intimate, and the strings sound out individually, especially in the slow movements. <Sample 1: disc 1 - track 3 0í00">

The ensemble shows its skills in the occasional contrapuntal writing, as in the allegro of Sonata VI. The sound here is one of a very tight group, playing as almost a Haydn string quartet, yet with that self-effacement that makes baroque music sound so real. <Sample 2: disc 1 -track 11 0í00">
This is a wonderful, almost essential recording to understand the Italian baroque and one of its emblematic composers. With a near-perfect performance and recording, you will net be disappointed. Kudos to Arcana for excellent notes, which give an extensive discussion of the music and its context.

Kirk McElhearn

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