Tomaso ALBINONI (1671 - 1751)
Sonates pour violon
Sonata in c minor, op. 6,10 [11:28]
Sonata 'per il Signore Pisendel' in B flat [10:42]
Sonata in a minor, op. 6,6 [11:04]
Sonata IV in A (1717) [9:53]
Sonata in g minor, op. 6,2 [10:53]
Guillaume Rebinguet-Sudre (violin), Claire Gratton (cello), Jean-Luc
rec. 7-10 November 2011, church of Lévis Saint Nom (Yvelines),
ENCELADE ECL 1102 [54:03]
"In the past, the undemonstrative nature of Albinoni's
musical personality has puzzled some commentators. (...) Today, the
subtle elegance and lack of exaggeration in Albinoni's music comes across,
rather, as a positive feature essential to his musical personality".
Thus Michael Talbot, in his liner-notes to this recording of five sonatas
for violin and basso continuo.
It is tempting to speculate about the reasons why Albinoni didn't indulge
himself in violinistic acrobatics. Could it have something to do with
the fact that he wasn't a professional composer. After all, he never
held an official position at some court or institution, such as one
of the ospedali in his hometown Venice. Perhaps he didn't feel
free to show off? Elsewhere Talbot calls him a somewhat 'marginal' figure
in society who was not from a musical family and wasn't considered as
"one of us" by the truly rich and famous. Another explanation could
be his involvement in opera: he composed around eighty operas and a
considerable number of cantatas. He was not only educated as a violinist
but also as a singer. That could well explain the lyricism which is
often present in his chamber music, and especially in the slow movements.
Make no mistake. Albinoni's music isn't middle-of-the-road. The present
disc includes a quite virtuosic sonata which bears the title "composta
per il Signore Pisendel". Johann Georg Pisendel was a German violinist
who was was to become concertmaster of the court chapel in Dresden in
1728. In 1712 he had entered the chapel as violinist, and in 1716 accompanied
his employer's son, Prince-Elector Friedrich Augustus II, to Venice
as part of the latter's Grand Tour. Here he became acquainted
with the most prominent composers, such as Vivaldi and Albinoni. Pisendel
returned to Dresden with a large collection of compositions. Some of
them he had purchased, others were given to him. Among the latter are
three sonatas by Albinoni from which the Sonata in B flat has
been selected. Without any doubt it reflects Albinoni's assessment of
Pisendel's skills, but also gives some idea of Albinoni's own capabilities
as a player. This sonata was never published; he must have written it
for his own use at least in the first place. The second movement is
a fugue which contains much double-stopping. In the third movement the
cello has a notable role. The use of double-stopping and the inclusion
of fugues in his sonatas bears witness to Albinoni's mastery of counterpoint,
one of the features for which he was famous. This aspect must have contributed
to his fame across Europe, where he was often mentioned in the same
breath as Corelli.
The well-balanced character of Albinoni's sonatas is not at the expense
of expression - even passion. That is demonstrated by the sonatas on
this disc. A good example of passion is the second movement from the
Sonata in g minor, op. 6,2. It is followed by a beautiful Largo
which is based on a basso ostinato. It closes with a brilliant
Allegro. If you are looking for an expressive movement try the
opening Grave adagio from the Sonata in a minor, op. 6,6.
The second movement has much drive, the following Adagio has
a cantabile character, and the sonata closes with a balanced
Allegro. There are some dramatic traits as well, for instance
in the closing Allegro from the Sonata in c minor, op.
The Sonata IV in A is from a collection of five sonatas, the
last of which is by Giovanni Battista Tibaldi, a composer from Modena.
This set was printed without Albinoni's approval by Jeanne Roger in
Amsterdam in 1717. The sonata opens with a movement of improvisatory
character which is followed by an Allegro which is another fugue
with much double-stopping.
These three artists are probably not that well-known: this is Guillaume
Rebinguet-Sudre's first solo recording. He makes a most convincing and
impressive debut. His violin was especially built for him by Christian
Rault after instruments from the Venetian school. It produces a beautiful
tone which is well suited to Albinoni's music. Rebinguet-Sudre has perfectly
captured its character, without underrating the expressive and virtuosic
aspects. The dynamic shading and his bow vibrato on long notes and the
accentuation of good notes are instrumental in securing a compelling
interpretation. Also notable is the exposition of the rhythmic pulse
which is especially important as many movements are dances in disguise.
I should not forget to mention Claire Gratton and Jean-Luc Ho who considerably
contribute to performances that are full of tension and contrast. The
latter aspect is also due to the well-chosen tempi.
All in all, this disc is a compelling musical portrait of a great composer.
Johan van Veen