Avison Ensemble / Pavlo Beznosiuk

Arcangelo Corelli: Chamber Sonatas, Opp. 2 & 4

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The ongoing recordings of Arcangelo Corelli's music by the Avison Ensemble and Ukrainian-British violinist-leader, Pavlo Beznosiuk, all have something to recommend them. With this double-disc set the group covers Corelli's two published sets of "chamber sonatas," a direct translation of the Italian "sonate da camera." The term denoted a suite-like structure of multiple short dances or other binary movements rather than a specific set of forces. Corelli himself published them as "sonate a tre," or sonatas for three instruments. The booklet notes by Simon D.I. Fleming here go to great lengths to justify performance with four instruments, as doubtless occurred often in the 18th century. What you get here, however, is something else: performance with five instruments, the violins of Beznosiuk and Caroline Balding, plus cello, archlute, and harpsichord or organ. This is a very big and active continuo group, and its presence is further heightened by the improvisatory fills of all the players, especially cellist Richard Tunnicliffe. This is not right or wrong, although it seems a bit daring in music specifically designated as being for three instruments. The effect is to push the music in the direction of a chamber group for equals rather than a dialogue of two soloists. And Corelli was nothing if not a soloistic composer. You may like it or not, but the virtues of the Avison group are once again on full display here; the players achieve a sparkling liveliness in the fast movements that few other groups seem to manage with period strings. The church sound is overresonant but at least has the virtue of not distorting the unexpectedly complex textures. You may want to give this a try even if you prefer a more minimal continuo style; it's beautifully done, and who knows, Beznosiuk could turn out to be right.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Sonata da Camera, Op. 2
1 01:12 Amazon
2 01:26 Amazon
3 01:11 Amazon
4 00:36 Amazon
5 02:38 Amazon
6 02:01 Amazon
7 01:41 Amazon
8 00:57 Amazon
9 02:02 Amazon
10 01:34 Amazon
11 02:07 Amazon
12 03:14 Amazon
13 01:17 Amazon
14 01:53 Amazon
15 02:02 Amazon
16 01:14 Amazon
17 02:09 Amazon
18 01:33 Amazon
19 01:53 Amazon
20 02:33 Amazon
21 01:05 Amazon
22 02:21 Amazon
23 01:51 Amazon
24 01:40 Amazon
25 01:24 Amazon
26 01:50 Amazon
27 01:26 Amazon
28 02:49 Amazon
29 02:03 Amazon
30 01:18 Amazon
31 02:31 Amazon
32 03:29 Amazon
33 01:38 Amazon
34 01:05 Amazon
35 01:44 Amazon
36 01:20 Amazon
37 01:43 Amazon
38 01:15 Amazon
39 01:21 Amazon
40 01:24 Amazon
41 03:39 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Sonata da Camera, Op. 4
1 01:22 Amazon
2 01:33 Amazon
3 01:24 Amazon
4 01:46 Amazon
5 02:13 Amazon
6 01:38 Amazon
7 00:32 Amazon
8 01:51 Amazon
9 03:35 Amazon
10 01:41 Amazon
11 01:46 Amazon
12 01:37 Amazon
13 01:43 Amazon
14 01:29 Amazon
15 01:30 Amazon
16 02:00 Amazon
17 01:55 Amazon
18 01:41 Amazon
19 01:16 Amazon
20 00:46 Amazon
21 02:42 Amazon
22 01:29 Amazon
23 02:02 Amazon
24 01:34 Amazon
25 01:17 Amazon
26 00:35 Amazon
27 01:12 Amazon
28 01:45 Amazon
29 01:55 Amazon
30 01:38 Amazon
31 00:49 Amazon
32 02:08 Amazon
33 01:50 Amazon
34 01:18 Amazon
35 02:25 Amazon
36 01:28 Amazon
37 01:25 Amazon
38 01:56 Amazon
39 02:21 Amazon
40 02:36 Amazon
41 02:14 Amazon
42 02:51 Amazon
43 01:42 Amazon
44 01:11 Amazon
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