Fabio Biondi / Europa Galante

Italian Violin Sonatas

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AllMusic Review by

This splendid disc features violin sonatas by Italian composers influenced by Arcangelo Corelli. Corelli, as Toussaint Loviko wrote in the liner notes, was "an iconic point of reference for his violinist peers." Indeed, but these composers, with the possible exception of Geminiani, wrote original music often significantly expanding the Baroque violin idiom. This is why it takes an extraordinarily versatile and sensitive violinist to convincingly perform, on one disc, music by Veracini, Locatelli, Michele Mascitti, Geminiani, and Tartini, and Fabio Biondi certainly fulfills those requirements. While the general idiom is Baroque, each work presents particular technical and stylistic challenges. Overall, Biondi performs these sonatas with an exquisite lightness of touch, a lightness bordering on the ethereal without questioning the stylistic and formal foundations of the music. Significantly, Biondi's original interpretations never overshadow the music's originality. If there is an extraordinary lightness to his playing, each work is approached with extreme care, the quality of lightness appearing singular in each piece. Biondi's Veracini is warm and intimate, he unearths an astonishing melodiousness in Locatelli, and in Tartini's sonata -- written in the doleful key of G minor -- the listener fully hears this composer's melancholy voice. Of particular interest is Biondi's performance of Psyche, by Mascitti. Mascitti was among the rare Italians who appreciated French music (the reverse was the standard), and his Psyche, a divertissement for violin and continuo in ten movements, follows the tradition of French artists who sought inspiration in classical mythology. A work of great refinement, elegance, and charm, Mascitti's composition tells the story of Eros (Amor) and Psyche, and Biondi's ability to effortlessly move from one tableau to another allows the listener to fully experience the complex beauty of this musical narrative.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sonata for violin & continuo in G minor, Op. 1/1
1
5:06
2
4:54
3
1:32
4
1:10
5
3:35
Sonata da camera, for violin & bass in D minor, Op. 6/12
6
5:04
7
2:28
8
2:19
9
3:22
Sonata for violin & continuo in D major ("Psyche"), Op. 5/12
10
1:40
11
3:16
12
2:40
13
1:05
14
1:53
15
1:24
16
1:06
17
1:45
18
1:46
19
1:20
Sonata for violin & continuo No. 5 in A minor, Op. 4/5
20
2:36
21
3:59
22
3:39
Sonata for violin & continuo in G minor, B. g4 (Op. 2/1)
23
3:54
24
5:46
25
2:52
blue highlight denotes track pick