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Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741)
Concerto in B-flat ‘Il Carbonelli’ RV366 [9:21]
Giovanni Stefano CARBONELLI (1694–1773)
Sonate da Camera Nos. 7-12 (1729):
Sonata No.7 [11:06]
Sonata No.8 [10:29]
Sonata No.9 [8:34]
Sonata No.10 [10:16]
Sonata No.11 [12:08]
Sonata No.12 [16:44]
The Illyria Consort/Bojan Čičić (violin)
rec. January 2019, St Martin’s Church, East Woodhay, Newbury, England. DDD.
Premiere recordings of Sonata No.8 and Sonata No.11
Reviewed as lossless download with pdf booklet from
DELPHIAN DCD34214 [78:18]

This is another ground-breaking and winning release from Bojan Čičić and his Illyria Consort. Only recently they gave us the ‘London Concertos’ by Giovanni Giornovich (DCD34219 – review Spring 2019/3). Now they return to another composer who found fame and fortune in England, having given us Carbonelli’s first six Sonate da camera on Delphian DCD34194: Recording of the Month – review. Johan van Veen hoped that the Consort would give us the remaining sonatas and here they are. I could simply apply the neo-Platonic principle ‘as above, so below’ and refer you to his review, adding ‘same again’. JV’s enthusiasm was mirrored by other reviews, so how did I miss that release?

I must admit that I don’t recall encountering Carbonelli’s music before – he’s not even a name in Grove or the Oxford Companion to Music. Reported to have been a pupil of Corelli, he arrived in London around 1719, eventually converting to Anglicanism, changing his name to Carbonell, setting up as a wine merchant, and marrying. He was active here as a violinist until at least 1762. The great Dr Burney seems to have been less than fulsome in his praise, however, which may account, at least in part, for the failure of his reputation to survive.

For once, Burney was in the wrong; these sonatas indicate that Carbonelli is worthy of comparison even with Handel, who frequently worked with him, or Corelli, whose Op.5 Sonatas provided the model for what seem to have been his only compositions. Biber and, of course, Vivaldi, are among the other influences to be heard. Though mostly of the 4- and 5-movement da chiesa type, that certainly doesn’t mean that they sound in any way over-solemn or po-faced.

If you would like to hear one of Carbonelli’s sonatas in the context of the work of other Italian composers of the time in London, Simon Standage and Friederike Chylef offer the premiere recording of Sonata No.10 in g minor1 on an album entitled Italians in London! The other sonatas are by Matteis, Visconti, Geminiani, Domenico Scarlatti, Veracini and Castrucci (Chandos CHAN0806). The Carbonelli sonata doesn’t go with quite the swing that Čičić and his consort impart and the instrumentation of violin and harpsichord only makes it sound rather tame by comparison.

The Illyria Consort employ Susanne Heinrich (7-string bass viol), David Miller (theorbo, archlute, baroque guitar) and Steven Devine (harpsichord, organ) as a more varied continuo, but the stylishly performed Chandos programme as a whole, is, nevertheless, well worth investigating. The CD is deleted, but it can be obtained from Chandos on CDR or downloaded in mp3, 16- and 24-bit from

The Illyria Consort may be comparative newcomers, but Bojan Čičić is a deserving pluralist with an impressive tally of recordings for various labels. As a prominent member of Florilegium, he contributes to the success of a recent double album of chamber music for the court of Frederick the Great (Channel Classics CCS41819 – review pending).

There are a few recordings of the Vivaldi concerto which bears Carbonelli’s name, but Michael Cookson was disappointed by a CPO recording on which it appears courtesy of Federico Guglielmo and L’Arte dell’Arco – review. I was surprised to read of MC’s disappointment, since my experience of this team’s Vivaldi, as part of the Brilliant Classics edition, has been very positive, as in the complete Op.8 concertos (95045: Recording of the Month – review). Perhaps Guglielmo is a bit too forward and his tone is a bit bright by comparison with Čičić, who manages to combine a smoother sound with equal vitality, but otherwise I think MC a little hard in judgement in this case. I see that other reviewers shared my enjoyment of this recording.

I was surprised, after the opening Vivaldi, to find myself attracted even more by the Carbonelli sonatas. I’m sure that part of the appeal is in the sparkling qualities of the playing and the fine recording, albeit that I was able to hear only the CD-quality 16-bit version. (Some other dealers offer 24-bit.) I haven’t seen the score, but it seems that Čičić interprets it with a good degree of his own additions and ornamentation, in accord with eighteenth-century practice.

There is a 24-bit download of the first volume from, in addition to mp3 and CD-quality 16-bit. Having enjoyed the second album, I lost no time in downloading that and liking it equally well. The attraction of both volumes is augmented by the notes of Professor Michael Talbot.

Ignore any dealer who says that this CD will be released in December 2019; it's available now.

I defy anyone with the least degree of interest in the instrumental music of this period not to enjoy this CD or its predecessor.

1 Wrongly identified in the online track information as the Scarlatti sonata in G and given that work’s Kk catalogue number.

Brian Wilson

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