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An Italian Sojourn
Dario CASTELLO (fl.1621-1636)
Sonata ottava in D minor [4:38]
Alessandro STRADELLA (1644-1682)
Sinfonia in D minor [7:27]
Biagio MARINI (1678-1741)
Sonata a due in D minor [3:55]
Pietro Antonio LOCATELLI (1695-1764)
Sonata de camera Op.6 No.2 in F major (publ.1737) [16:31]
Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713)
Sonata in C major Op.5 No.3 (publ.1700) [10:02]
Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770)
Sonata Pastorale in A major (1734) [9:09]
Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Sonata in G minor HWV 364a Op.1 No.6 [5:31]
Francesco VERACINI (1690-1750)
Sonata in D minor Op.2 No.12 (publ.1744) [13:02]
Trio Settecento - Rachel Barton Pine (violin): John Mark Rozendaal (cello): David Schrader (harpsichord)
rec. in the Nichols Concert Hall at the Music Institute of Chicago in Evanston, IL, December 2006
CEDILLE CDR 90000 099 [70:51]
Experience Classicsonline

Rachel Barton Pine is making something of a name for herself, intelligently seeking out areas of the repertoire to promote. Here she joins with her colleagues from the Trio Settecento, cellist John Mark Rozendaal and harpsichordist David Schrader to play Italian sonatas – if we allow Handel’s absorption of the Italian style via Corelli, as we surely must.
Pine plays on her 1770 Gagliano and care is exercised in bow use – with bows selected according to the work performed and this applies equally in the case of Rozendaal. Unequal temperament is used.
They start with Castello who, in my experience, is more often represented by his Sonata decima. Here we have the Sonata ottava, a Venetian work of brilliantly ornamented bravura though not one that lingers overmuch on the expressive potentialities for the trio. Needless to say the three players exercise finely judged decisions as to colour and weight. Pine is one of those much-valued players, trained on a modern set up but who essays the baroque (see her Handel disc for example) but who nevertheless manages to fuse expressive, unexaggerated warmth with agile awareness of performing styles. There’s nothing doctrinaire about this kind of playing and it abjures the kind of abrasive tonal qualities favoured by other practitioners of the art – and thank the Lord for that.
Stradella is represented by his Sinfonia in A and offers plenty of quasi-improvisational moments. Again Pine plays with precision but not asperity. And she brings the spirit of the dance to bear, here and elsewhere, with natural sounding rhythms. I wasn’t familiar with fellow Venetian Biagio Marini’s elegant little Sonata but it’s a pleasant, discreet discovery. With Locatelli we move to a higher level of virtuosity. His Sonata de camera is replete with flying decorations and double stops a-plenty. But note too how Pine and her colleagues refuse to exaggerate the Andante; no tempo fluctuations or gaucheries. The snappy rhythmic profile of the central Allegro sounds positively jazzy here, and the Air with variations finale features some lower string fanfares, excellent colouration and gliding phrasing – as well as stately moments too. It’s a life enhancing performance from the trio, one that relishes the versatility and vibrancy of the writing.
Corelli is the great master; we get one of the Op.5 sonatas – the C major, No.3. Pine plays this and the Handel with requisite generosity. She’s effective in the drone or bagpipe effects of the Tartini and enjoys the folkloric narrative of the sonata with considerable relish. To end with Veracini is no bad thing; his Sonata in D minor Op.2 No.12 is lithely done and there’s especial fire and brimstone in its finale.
The sleeve-notes read interestingly and intelligently though kites are flown about the influence of Islamic art on Venetian composers. I’d have preferred some dates of composition or publication; I’ve had to add those that I can find. Finely chosen, well programmed, elegantly produced, this is another excellent addition to your roster of Italian sonatas.
Jonathan Woolf


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