Batzdorfer Hofkapelle

Sonatas from the Dresden Pisendel Collection

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Georg Pisendel, a minor composer of the German High Baroque, was also the concertmaster at the Dresden court and compiled a library of instrumental music containing pieces that have not been preserved anywhere else. During the Seven Years' War they were placed in the "Schrank No. II" (Cupboard No. 2) of the court church, pictured on the cover, for safekeeping, and there they remained for more than two centuries. Among them is a Handel Trio Sonata in C minor for oboe, violin, and continuo, HWV 386a, that was later published in Amsterdam with different instrumentation. It's an attractive specimen of Handel's early style. The other four trio sonatas generally stick close to the basic slow-fast-slow-fast pattern established by Corelli; the one that departs the farthest, the Sonata in D major for violin, cello, and continuo of Giuseppe Torelli, is also the most interesting with its kinesthetic opening movement on the old-fashioned sectional pattern; this composer, known mostly for his often-anthologized trumpet concerto, produced a large output that remains in part virgin territory. Also of interest is an anonymous work for two violins and continuo in B minor; its opening Largo is dull, consisting mostly of a repeated figure, but the following Presto is a vigorous, rhythmically spiky thing. The Batzdorfer Hofkapelle, associated with Batzdorf castle near Dresden, offers muscular performances in the Italian style with plenty of rhythmic charge, but, with all the possible recording venues around Dresden, engineers chose the Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin, an overlive space that captures every last rustle of the players' jackets and dresses. Recommended nevertheless for good late Baroque collections that are trying to get away from the big names. Notes are in German, English, and French.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sonata in D major for violin, violoncello and basso continuo
1 2:57
2 1:55
3 1:28
4 1:53
Sonata in C minor for oboe, violin and b.c., HWV 386a (Dresden version)
5 3:44
6 2:31
7 2:50
8 2:18
9 4:20
Sonata in B minor for two violins and b.c.
10 3:46
11 2:46
12 2:05
13 3:16
14 5:45
Sonata in E minor for two violins and b.c.
15 2:15
16 4:37
17 2:18
18 3:20
19 3:14
Sonata in C minor for Oboe, violin and b.c.
20 1:45
21 3:07
22 3:41
23 4:30
blue highlight denotes track pick