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Sonata No 4 yields more appetising canonic writing for the flutes, to all intents and purposes unvibratoed, so the sound of each seems somewhere between a recorder and a blockflute, and very attractive for that.

Listen -- Final Allegro (Sonata No 4) (track 15, 0:00-1:01)
© 2007 La Bottega Discantica

It also yields the odd intriguing harmonic clash or surprise, and while No 4's final Allegro -- rather a 'courtly' number -- is one of the best movements on the disc, one can perhaps divine why Formenti keeps No 5 till last, for there is more of that to come.

Listen -- Andante (Sonata No 4) (track 13, 0:00-0:43)
© 2007 La Bottega Discantica

One feels Handel is watching over No 4's first Allegro, beautifully managed till the end when some apparent hesitancy in the flutes seems to affect the slightly tricky transition. In the Andante perhaps a little more might have been engineered by way of mystery, or at least character -- the music invites that. (Also Gusberti has what sounds like a brief ropy moment near the close.) But perhaps my ears deceive me, for Nardini is not incapable of getting up to tricks -- not quite a Biber, yet even venturing near to the opposite of 'Bell Accordo'! His cheeky harpsichord (read fortepiano) cadenza -- good fun, though it might have been fractionally better defined by Toia -- leads to an almost surprise folding-in of the flutes, and a wonderful main exposition which only just loses puff towards the slightly lame close.

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Copyright © 11 May 2008 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry UK

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