<< -- 2 -- Jennifer Paull CAPRITIO
The Sonata a mandolino e basso continuo by Domenico Scarlatti
(1685-1757) is a beautiful blend of ensemble work. The expressive, slow
movement and the exciting, crisp execution of the last are a delight. There
is too much pulling about of the melodic line in the first movement for
my taste. I feel the phrasing and the ability of the soloist, Paul O'Dette,
would be better served with a little more ornamentation to emphasise his
sincere expression, and less over-stretching, almost to the point of rubato
in places. The last movement is ensemble playing at its best. O'Dette
is an outstanding performer [listen -- track 3, 0:41-1:40].
Alexander Weimann's interpretation of the Michelangelo Rossi (1601-1656)
Settima Toccata is beautifully and intelligently phrased. The shafts
of light transpierce the sequences and bold, architectural structure. His
technique is impeccable -- the instrument's tuning, historically accurate
no doubt, but hard to digest in places. In spite of this, the performance
is simply outstanding.
There follow five short pieces by Giovanni Battista Vitali (1632-1692).
The third of these, Passa Galli per la lettera E is a beautiful,
stately dance, played with subtlety and feeling by Erin Headley on the viola
da gamba. Gregorio Strozzi (1615-1687) follows, with his Sonata di basso
solo with the ensemble bringing as much interest and phrasing as they
can to this pleasant but rather monotonous work. There are some lovely pulls
between simultaneous simple and compound rhythms, but again, the intonation
is uphill in places.
Erin Headley's beautiful phrasing makes the Toccata per B quadro
by Francesco Maria Bassano (fl c1610), a delight.
One is happy to hear Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) after a rather
dirge-like Susanne ung jour by Francesco Rognoni (?-? before 1626).
Set by many composers, here, this song sounds sad enough to be a lamentation
for a baby girl who lived but one day (d'un jour); perhaps that
was the original intention?
The Scarlatti is even the more glorious for this juxtaposition, full
of bounce and colour. It is another set of variations on the Follia di
Spagna; the mysterious melody that swept through Europe for over two
centuries, being set by so many eminent composers in its wake (Lully, Marais,
etc). It is beautifully performed by Alexander Weimann. Again, I can only
lament not Suzanne, but the 'historically correct' mean temperament.
I would like to have listened to this CD in today's language in which
I live and breathe, and have my musical being in an equally tempered universe;
historically accurate or not.
Copyright © 29 May 2002
Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland
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