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Domenico Maria DREYER (17-18th C)
Sonata in C major for recorder and basso continuo [6:24]
Sonata Sesta in A minor for oboe and basso continuo [8:03]
Louis DÉTRY (17-18th C)
Sonata in C minor for recorder and basso continuo [8:35]
Domenico Maria DREYER
Sonata Quinta in G minor for oboe and basso continuo [8:28]
Sonata Seconda in C major for oboe and basso continuo [9:33]
Antonio Lucio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Trio Sonata in A minor for recorder, bassoon and basso continuo, RV 86 [9:35]
Renata Duarte (recorder and oboe)
Aline Zylberajch (harpsichord)
Ricardo Rapoport (bassoon)
Annabelle Luis (cello)
rec. 2019, Immanuelskirche Wuppertal.
Reviewed in SACD binaural stereo.
CYBELE RECORDS SACD 231904 [50:43]

It is always refreshing to see releases that give us the opportunity to hear new work by obscure or forgotten composers. Reading Olivie Fourés’ booklet notes for this album, we learn that Domenico Maria Dreyer was born in Florence into a musical family and worked as a oboist in St. Petersburg, one of a number of Italian musicians who ended up in Russia. Louis Détry is of unknown but possibly French origin who was employed as a bassoonist in Germany before taking a post with the Elector of Württemburg in 1727. The sonata recorded here is his only known manuscript.

Given the colourful and characterful performances these pieces are given on this recording, it is tempting to imagine that almost anything in this style would sound good. The quality of composition is however an aspect that shines through, and in this case obscurity does not equate with second-rate output. Domenico Maria Dreyer’s Sonata in C major is full of little harmonic surprises and lyrical inventiveness, and has some rhythmic quirks that are not a million miles from C.P.E. Bach. The soulful Adagio that opens the Sonata Sesta has sighing cadences that lean towards the operatic, contrasting nicely with the lively Allegro that follows. In four movements, there is a fairly typical Siciliana, and everything is rounded off with another Allegro that has some testing passagework for the oboe, all managed with stylish elegance by Renata Duarte.
Contrast between oboe and recorder adds interest in this programme, as do the differences in style between Dreyer and Louis Détry, who throws in some delicious harmonic mini-shocks in the opening Adagio of his Sonata in C minor. This is an impressive and dramatic work that makes me wish that there were more pieces known by this composer. The Presto is stormy and exciting, the third movement Adagio lyrical but unexpected in the meandering length of its phrases, and the final Allegro a virtuoso gallop that treats the recorder more as if it was a violin in its rapid and ever-widening leaps.

The two sonatas by Dreyer that follow maintain the quality of the first two, the Sonata Quinta almost concerto-like in its expressive range, the basso continuo joined for the first time by the bassoon, which adds further refreshment to the ear. The Sonata Seconda in C major is a well chosen follow-up, taking us from G minor into a major-key revival of the spirits, but with its own emotional centre in some chromatically descending bass notes in its Adagio. You might imagine Vivaldi would have few surprises for us, and there are indeed some features of his Trio Sonata in A minor that might remind you of The Four Seasons or other familiar concertos, but the sonority of recorder and bassoon as equal soloists is an intriguing one, with Ricardo Rapoport demonstrating considerable digital dexterity in the fast movements, and low reed versus high fipple making for a delightful male/female dialogue. Vivaldi’s inventiveness with this pared-down instrumentation is second to none, and this sonata makes for a substantial and rousing conclusion to the disc.

Beautifully recorded and expertly performed, this is a Baroque chamber-music disc to treasure. Programming and performance choices are excellent, and I haven’t even mentioned Aline Zylberajch’s tasteful selection of harpsichord stops. If you are keen on 18th century music and ready to explore some new names then this is an album that will not disappoint.

Dominy Clements

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