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Joyful Interplay

Corelli from the
Purcell Quartet,
heard by

Hyperion    CDH55240

Corelli: 'La Folia' and other sonatas. The Purcell Quartet. © 1987, 2008 Hyperion Records Ltd

As a long-term admirer of my erstwhile baroque violin teacher Elisabeth Wallfisch, I leapt at the chance to swipe any CD of hers with the Purcell Quartet, when my marvellous Music & Vision editor gave me the option. I was a little surprised to learn that it was first recorded in 1986 (a re-issue, or is Hyperion more than usually insanely slow to release?), but that in no way affected my enjoyment of this wonderful CD. The CD is possibly slightly unbalanced, in that the wonderful two violin sonatas come at the end, when they would make much more immediate impact at the beginning.

Had the producers asked me -- which one notes that they signally failed to do -- I would have advised otherwise. However.

Of all the multitudinous excellences of this selection I would like to highlight the following:

  • The cordial give-and-take between between the silvery Catherine Mackintosh and the golden Elizabeth Wallfisch
  • The long lines espoused by gambist Richard Boothby on the viola da gamba in his solo Gamba Sonata in D (actually an arrangement of a Corelli violin sonata). (Nor was Richard Campbell over-vibrating or attempting to swipe the limelight as continuo cello, as so often happens.)
  • As for Robert Woolley, he was all but unnoticeable, as all the best harpsichord and organ continuo players are: the perfect enabler, the eloquent support. He seemed to be always sympathetic, constantly at one with his soloist (whichever it was)
  • In La Folia, Libby (Elizabeth Wallfisch) here emerges irresistibly as Libby, yet possibly still with something to come (see her later Locatelli recordings). Yet there is something wonderfully exciting in hearing her answering Catherine Mackintosh so brilliantly, and in the joyful interplay of the two sinewy-yet-sweet violin tones.

In all, a (very cheap, considering all the excellence on offer) present for anyone still doubting the worth of period instruments, especially in the baroque. You cannot do better than to shell out for it.

Listen -- Sonata da camera in G 'Ciaccona'
(track 19, 2:05-2:50) © 2008 Hyperion Records

Copyright © 12 September 2008 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK


Corelli: 'La Folia' and other sonatas

CDH55240 DDD Stereo REISSUE 57'02" 1987, 2008 Hyperion Records Ltd

The Purcell Quartet:
Catherine Mackintosh, violin (Jan Bouwmeester, Amsterdam, 1669) (a)
Elizabeth Wallfisch, violin (Petrus Paulus de Vitor, Brescia, 1790) (b)
Richard Boothby, cello (anonymous English, c1750), viola da gamba (David Rubio, 1978, after Guillaum Barbey, Paris) (c)
Robert Woolley, harpsichord (single manual by Feldberg Whale, 1980, after Mucciardi, Italian 18th century), chamber organ (William Drake, Devon, 1983) (d)
Richard Campbell, cello (anonymous English, 18th century) (e)

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713):
Sonata da chiesa in G Op 1 No 9 (Allegro - Adagio; Allegro; Adagio; Allegro - Adagio)
Violin Sonata in C Op 5 No 3 (Adagio; Allegro; Adagio; Allegro; Allegro) (a) (c) (d)
Sonata da camera in A Op 4 No 3 (Preludio: Largo; Corrente: Allegro; Sarabanda: Largo; Tempo di gavotta: Allegro)
Viola da gamba Sonata in D - Anonymous arrangement of Violin Sonata in E Op 5 No 11 (Preludio: Adagio; Allegro; Adagio; Vivace; Gavotta: Allegro) (c) (e) (d)
Sonata da camera in G 'Ciaccona' Op 2 No 12
Violin Sonata in D minor 'La Folia' Op 5 No 12 (b) (c) (d)
Sonata da camera in E minor Op 2 No 4 (Preludio: Adagio; Allemanda: Presto; Grave - Adagio; Giga: Allegro)
Sonata da chiesa in A Op 3 No 12 (Grave - Allegro - Adagio; Vivace; Allegro; Allegro; Allegro)


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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular series of shorter CD reviews