Various Artists

Folia

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Whether known as La Folia in Portugal, Las Folías in Spain, La Follia in Italy, Les Folies d'espagne in France, or Faronells Division on a Ground in England, the popular Baroque variation form was developed on a standard 8-bar chord progression in a minor key and in triple time, with melodic and rhythmic elaborations. Older folia were typically lively dances, while later examples tended to be more expressive and slow, often cast as sarabandes like Handel's famous Sarabande in D minor. Some of the best known composers to exploit La Folia were Jean-Baptiste Lully, Arcangelo Corelli, Antonio Vivaldi, Francesco Geminiani, and Marin Marais, and they are represented in this exciting 2019 collection from Glossa, along with such lesser figures as Giovanni Paolo Foscarini, Gaspar Sanz, Paolo Pandolfo, Andrea Falconieri, Diego Ortiz, Paolo Benedetto Bellinzani, and Francesco Corbetta, demonstrating the ubiquity of La Folia across musical Europe. This collection offers period style performances for different instrumental groups, recorded between 1984 and 2018, so there is some variability to the sound quality, though all the tracks are listenable and often quite vivid in their clarity. Of course, the repetitive nature of La Folia tends to make listening to two CDs in one sitting difficult, though shorter sessions will yield substantial rewards from this enticing form.

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