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<<  -- 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.

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Copyright © 29 May 2002 Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland




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