I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Schmelzer - Holloway

Several years ago, violinist John Holloway began recording for ECM New Series; he started here, with some of the works by Johann Schmelzer, a contemporary of Biber. The first piece, however, deserves mention specifically. It's by Antonio Bertali, not Schmelzer, and is an extended theme-and-variations affair over a repeating bass. This chiacona is realized at the same tempo throughout (unlike another reading by Manfred Kraemer), with a unique sound: harpsichord and organ together for bass. It's quite a clean, refreshing sound. It's one that Holloway would continue to explore in future releases. The other pieces are perhaps less interesting, from a grand scale of design. They are more technically and motive varied, for sure, but they sound simpler. Holloway never is an extrovert, one shying away from sheer bravura, showy playing. He makes each note sound effortless, but sometimes, this clean, measured style can escape the musical potential. It's almost as if Holloway is purposely limiting his expressive capabilities for the sake of the music (or how it might have been played?). You will find more drama in the reading by Andrew Manze. Yet, I like this one nonetheless. There is a directness to Holloway's tone, and the beforementioned continuo group that is an appealing component to the sound. I gather these pieces are fun to play. My only wish, as mentioned, would be for a better interpretation of the dramatic potential these early baroque gems might convey.

Alfabeto: Music by Foscarini et al.

Let's Sleep