Lorenzo Cavasanti / Manuel Staropoli

Vivaldi: Sonate a tre

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The packaging of this album promises sonate a tre, or trio sonatas, by Vivaldi for two recorders and basso continuo; a couple of the pieces have just one recorder part. Those unaware that Vivaldi wrote so much for the recorder will soon discover that these are early violin works transcribed for the recorder. Here recorder players Lorenzo Cavasanti and Manuel Starpoli, along with the members of the young Accademia del Ricercare, are on solid historical ground; plenty of Italian Baroque violin music, even that by such traveling virtuosi as Veracini, was arranged by publishers for the cheaper and more accessible recorder, or simply declared to be for either instrument. The work lies easily under the fingers of the players, who deliver attractive performances with good pitch stability and a vigorous rhythmic sense. More intriguing ultimately than the violin-recorder switch is the grouping of music by the young Vivaldi; all of these pieces date from before the mid-1720s, and a few of them are among Vivaldi's earliest works. In the Follia in G minor, RV 63, you get to hear Vivaldi's intriguing attempt to improve on the venerable ground bass piece, already seemingly done to death by Corelli and his contemporaries; the large and flexible continuo group of the Accademia del Ricercare offers some fun reminders of this dance's popular origins here. The sonatas are mostly in three movements but do not follow the usual fast-slow-fast pattern of Vivaldi's maturity; instead most open with a slow movement, followed by two faster dances. This was again a common pattern of the Corelli generation, and the overall impression is one of hearing a young composer test the limits of the forms he had inherited. These works, not much recorded, offer pleasant listening for those whose aim is to build a large collection of Vivaldi's instrumental music, and for those interested in his early development it's a nice find.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sonata in E minor for two recorders & basso continuo, RV72
1 3:03
2 2:23
3 1:52
Sonata in E flat for two recorders & basso continuo, RV78
4 1:30
5 2:35
6 2:05
Sonata in B minor for two recorders & basso continuo, RV35
7 3:08
8 2:33
9 2:09
Sonata in C minor for two recorders & basso continuo, RV74
10 4:05
11 2:58
12 2:59
13 1:51
Sonata in C for two recorders & basso continuo, RV61
14 1:22
15 2:47
16 1:27
Sonata in E for two recorders & basso continuo, RV67
17 1:45
18 2:01
19 2:03
20 1:00
Sonata in B flat for two recorders & basso continuo, RV46
21 1:59
22 2:24
23 2:29
24 2:32
25 9:16
blue highlight denotes track pick