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.

Veracini - Sonate a violino solo e basso

Veracini was a Florentine who seemed to get around Europe (including the United Kingdom) an account of his violin playing capabilities; he died in Florence, however, in a less extrovert role, performing church music. His music for violin is preferred, by me, to his orchestral works, which were recorded by Musica Antiqua Köln. His Sonata prima which appears on this disc also appeared on Fabio Biondi's recital of Italian violin sonatas. It's opening movement, as presented here in this older recording by Gatti, is almost rushed, in comparison to Biondi's. It's finely played, however, using a "simpler" basso continuo with harpsichord and bowed bass. Biondi aside, more complete readings in my collection include Riccardo Minasi and John Holloway. Manfredo Kraemer also managed to record the solo sonata in his recording solo debut with Capriccio Stravagante.

I'd likely place Gatti above Holloway in his interpretive abilities and taste for engaging the listener with what we might consider above-average writing for the violin. He may not have quite the style of Minasi or Biondi, but his more straightforward presentation is not without charm.

No matter the range of the instrument or the character of the movement, Gatti is pretty consistent in sound and the characterization of the music - nothing sounds more difficult from one passage to another.

The three movement Sonata no. 8 takes on a more modern feel, compared with the first (Sonata prima). Amid the passages of repetition, there's some actual emergence of a melody, which seems interested in going further to an even more galant style. The piece closes in the minor key, and while it is perhaps more old fashioned in style than the first movement, the places it goes and the accompaniment on the keyboard together emphasize its new boundaries. The remaining two sonatas (Sonata sesta & sonata 12) both take on 4-movement forms, the first ending in a gigue, and the last a ciaconna. There's enough invention in these works -- really all of them - to substantiate Veracini's sonatas belonging in the canon of baroque violin sonatas. His ideas are more complex and drawn-out than those of earlier Corelli, or even Vivaldi. This doesn't always mean the piece is a better one, but it maintains our interest, especially when we've programmed a concert on the hifi with a lot of Italian violin sonatas.

Gatti and friends maintain a consistent, if not warmly conservative approach to the music for the entire CD. As I already mentioned, this isn't a bad thing.

Despite the disc's age, it was well-recorded with a mostly close-perspective that is still fresh. In fact, the performers are clearly here in the room with me. My only reservation is that these folks didn't take a more extrovert, daring take on the sonatas; even so, vibrato is explored in some interesting ways to still keep your interest.

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