Adrian Chandler, violin, records a second CD featuring violin sonatas focused on the baroque violinist Pisendel. In fact, the recording features two works by the violinist, a sonata in C minor and another in A minor. But the remaining works, by the likes of Vivaldi, Montanari, and Albinoni, were written for Pisendel. The violinist had something of some fame going for him in the 18th century, eventually settling-in in Dresden.
Chandler has brought together a rich continuo team, complete with cello, harpsichord and organ, plus theorbo. All of the sonatas were not new to me, but it was certainly nice to have the set together organized by their theme (for whom they were written) and they are each virtuosic works, nice having another reading of.
The Montanari sonata is an odd one; its concluding Giga does not have a bass part. As a single track, it is an excellent testament to Chandler’s gutsy and full-blooded playing. It’s a joy. More of the same for the solo sonata (without basso continuo), by Pisendel. My recording by Anton Steck has been my go-to favorite, but this one is certainly attractive too.
The remaining sonatas by Pisendel’s friends are each interesting works, yet compared to Pisendel’s their character is each a lot lighter and more carefree in style. Those familiar with Vivaldi’s so-called Manchester sonatas will find the same language in his two contributions on this recording.
The third movement, a largo in the first Pisendel sonata, and the Adagio in the Montanari sonata are for me calling out for a little more in the way of noodling by the performer. Having evidence of Corelli’s improvisations of slow movements come down to us, I am led to believe that the superstar violinists were expected to weave some tapestry in notes with the slower movements to match somewhat the more athletic workout from the faster movements.
That point aside, this for me has been the best release yet by La Serenissima — the playing by the ensemble and the musicianmanship especially of Adrian Chandler — is full tilt here.
A bonus for me was the inclusion well-written digital booklet with the iTunes version.