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Johann Heinrich SCHMELZER (c.1620-1680)
Sonata a 8 per chiesa e camera [3:33]
Sonata X (from Duodena selectarum sonatarum) [4:50]
Ciaccona a 3 chori [5:12]
Sonata con tribus violinis [6:36]
Sonata ad tabulam a 4 [4:54]
Lamento sopra la morte Ferdinadii III [5:41]
Sonata a 5 per camera al giorno delle correggie [6:00]
Sonata III from Sonatae unarum fidium [6:39]
Sonata a 5 [7:13]
Balletti francesi for the opera by Cesti, Antonio, Nettunno e Flora festeggianti [5:46]
Sonata con ariae a 9 zu der Kayserlichen Serenade [5:51]
Tafelmusik/Jeanne Lamon
SONY SK 53963 [62:54]

Here’s another splendid CD from the excellent Tafelmusik.

Schmelzer’s music can hardly fail to inspire – whether it’s to make you want to dance; or make your jaw drop at the lightness of his touch in what really are profound or very human pieces such as the Lament on the death of Ferdinand III (tr 6); or smile at the cheeky woodwind embellishments in the chamber sonata ‘al giorno delle correggie’ (on the day of the lash) with its unexpectedly abrupt end. 

Playing period instruments on what was a nominee for the 1994 ‘Best Classical Album, Small Ensemble’ Juno Award, the Toronto-based Baroque specialists, Tafelmusik, under their ever-energetic director, Jeanne Lamon, take you on a tasty and sprightly tour of some of Schmelzer’s most engaging music – mostly sonatas (Schmelzer played such a crucial role in developing the form in the Germany of the mid C17th) - and with the delightful Chaconne and French Ballet music for Nettuno e Flora festeggianti by Cesti. 

In addition to music redolent of Monteverdi (especially in the ‘Zu der Kayserlichen’ sonata), Lully and Scheidt from the generation immediately preceding Schmelzer’s, you’ll hear music of great inventiveness, with an eternal spring and – nice in a relatively short ‘space’ – highly varied music. 

It’s also repertoire in which Tafelmusik are very well at home and enjoy. Despite their immaculate ensemble playing, the contributions of each of their members are sparkling.

As with all these Arkiv CDs you are getting a record company-authorised CDR at a favourable price, a reproduction of the original cover and back of booklet. The original liner-notes are not included. 

If you’re looking for an introduction to this highly pleasing composer, who has such an original voice, this would be a good place to start. Several of the items included in the present reissue are unavailable elsewhere and likely to remain or become if not definitive, then eminently sought-after interpretations. 

Mark Sealey



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