Buxtehude: Trio Sonatas Op. 1

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While Dietrich Buxtehude is remembered chiefly for his organ and harpsichord music, as well as for his influence on a young Johann Sebastian Bach, little of his chamber music survives. The first of his two sets of trio sonatas was published in 1694, and this recording by the period ensemble Arcangelo presents the seven sonatas of Op. 1 in the conventional instrumentation for a trio sonata, with Sophie Gent on violin, Jonathan Manson on viola da gamba, Thomas Dunford on lute, and Jonathan Cohen on harpsichord. Buxtehude's writing is far from conventional, though, mainly because of the distinctive part writing that puts all the players on equal footing, instead of providing only harmonic support for the violin. Arcangelo makes the most of Buxtehude's highly imaginative counterpoint, at times emphasizing the arresting dissonances and dramatic cadences that will remind more than a few listeners of similar moments in Bach's chamber music. Alpha Classics gives the ensemble a crisp and close-up recording, which keeps the focus on the instruments and not the church acoustics.

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