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.

Albinoni Sonate da Chiesa

Albinoni's chamber music is performed on Hyperion by the Locatelli Trio, with violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch. This collection came out in 1994, and was recently reviewed by Jack here. Looking into the biberfan archives, I couldn't find my own review. Perhaps I never reviewed it! (Okay, small confession. I am not terribly organized with all of my reviews. I found references to this recording in a July, 2001 blog entry, where I was talking about ripping the recording onto a new hard drive I had procured. But, I made no reference to a review of the recording, proper.) I recall buying this recording in Rochester, NY, at a Border's Books and Music. Incidentally, it was from this store that I purchased my first Biber recording (by Andrew Manze and his Romanesca), and from that, I had of course become a fan of Biber. But I digress. The Locatelli Trio (now more recently called Convivium), is made up of one Australian and two brits. Wallfisch has never been my favorite violinist, but she's been a prolific recording artist, having a good amount of the baroque violin canon on record. Jack said she was a "conservative" player at times, but I think conservative goes towards the whole lot... Mr. Nicholson plays on both harpsichord and organ positif in this recording, and each track has Mr. Tunnicliffe on cello. The organ has a nice sound, but I wonder after the 16 years now (wow!) since this was recorded, what does the latest scholarship say about mid-century continuo practice in Italy? I'm a small sucker for variety, and while the continuo team here does alternate between the organ and harpsichord, it would have been ideal to offer us a few tracks without any bowed cello, or even some more exotic continuo instruments, such as a lute, clavicembalo, or bass lute. Jack also said Wallfisch can sound "dry," but here her tone comes across among the best it has on record, a bit warmer, perhaps. I remember when I got this set, I searched out the music for opus 6, and performed one of the pieces on trombone (it was during the summer, as I recall, and my mother was kind of enough to play the written-out continuo part on piano). If I remember, two lines were provided: an Urtext line and then an embellished version, in the style of Geminani's treatment of Corelli's solo sonatas. I couldn't help but think tonight as I reflected on this recording that Wallfisch and Company got off easy with only adding a minimalist's amount of ornaments. She went hog-wild in her reading by the same group on Corelli's opus 5, using some of the period-, written-out ornamentation. So, it seems that while the ensemble is very technically capable of playing more notes, they took the safe route here without adding their own. The need for them really calls out to us in the slower movements. Instead, all we get is Wallfisch's weak vibrato. In all, this is a clean reading of solo sonatas by Tomaso Albinoni, but it is too conservative for the reasons noted above, including: * a lack of inventive playing, * dynamic playing (it's pretty straight), * a lack of the use of dynamics as an expressive, even an ornamental, tool Add to that fact that this simply isn't the world's best music. I will add that Albinoni isn't a favorite composer of mine, as I often think of him as a "Vivaldi Lite." But, these sonatas do have more satisfactory melodies than his concerti. In the hands of amateurs, the slower movements are ideal. But in the hands of professionals, they should have been a playground for more fun than what Locatelli à 3 offered us back in 1994.

La Fenice - Ex libris

Bach Overtures