With these words ("Great virtuoso of the violin, and our contemporary Orpheus"), Francesco Gasparini, writing in his 1708 figured bass tutor, succinctly described Arcangelo Corelli, one of the most revered and influential composers of the entire baroque era.
Corelli's Op. 5 Violin Sonatas have always been admired by chamber music fans; there are a couple of good recordings of them already available. But this new one by Baroque specialist and virtuoso Andrew Manze and harpsichordist Richard Egarr presents the sonatas in such a bright, exciting, and improvisatory light that they seem brand new. During the composer's lifetime, these sonatas were widely played and tremendously influential; there's a good chance that it was assumed that virtuosi took what was written on the page as a starting point for embellishing and sheer showing off.
Arcangelo Corelli's remarkable reputation, established during his lifetime and maintained ever since, is based almost exclusively on his six published collections of works: the Trio Sonatas, Opp.1-4, the Concerti grossi, Op.6, and the twelve violin sonatas recorded here. Born in 1653 into a family of prosperous landowners, and trained as a violinist in Bologna, by his mid-twenties Corelli was in Rome and there rose rapidly to the peak of his profession. As both performer and composer he was renowned as a perfectionist, a fact reflected in both the size of his output and the polish with which it was prepared for publication.
If one tends to associate Albinoni, the Venetian-born contemporary of Vivaldi with the infamous and spurious Adagio, or at least a handful of his authentic oboe concertos, it is worth noting that he also wrote some 55 operas and nine opuses worth of instrumental pieces. Among these are the twelve Trio Sonatas, op. 1  […] In all ways, these are splendid performances, beautifully articulated, sensitive as to dynamic contrasts, carefully guaged rhythmically […] The players catch the gravity of the slow movements especially well, often with a Corellian sweetness […] The reproduction of the instruments, fairly high in level, is bright but wonderfully clear in a natural acoustic. (Igor Kipnis, Goldberg)
Until recently it was believed that the only extant copy … was permanently lost during the Second World War, but a surviving example was recently located by the undersigned. It is extraordinary music, perhaps the best of Schenck's works. These twelve sonatas demonstrate an astonishing variety of affects through which the composer displays a noteworthy sensitivity for the different keys, lending each sonata its own particular character.
Nowhere else in Schenck's works is the influence of Italian instrumental music so obvious; the clearest influence is the trio sonatas of Arcangelo Corelli but there are also traces of Giovanni Legrenzi's style as well as allusions to contemporary German and Dutch publications. (Pieter Dirksen)
Finnish Baroque Orchestra’s second release of Christoph Graupner’s (1683–1760) music continues to reveal delightful masterpieces by the Baroquemaster, who November 2014 during his lifetime was even more well known than his colleague Johann Sebastian Bach. After the acclaimed release of Graupner’s orchestral works (ODE12202; The Finnish broadcasting company YLE Record of the Year 2013), this new album focuses on some of the chamber works by Graupner – the Trio Sonatas. Graupner was extremely productive as a composer, with a catalogue of over 2’000 works varying from orchestral works to cantatas, concertos and chamber music. He also possessed a unique personal style of writing music and often favoured certain rarer instruments in his works. Among these are the viola d’amore as well as the chalumeau, both instruments being heard also on this disc. From his contemporaries Graupner’s music stands out with its exceptional command of melody and harmony.
The father of the Baroque period, Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the greatest composers of all time. His works, covering a wide range of instruments and voice types, continue to flourish to this day, forming a core part of musical learning. This special disc brings together the Trio Sonatas BWV525–530, works that originally appeared in a manuscript of works for organ. In this form, the pieces naturally became part of Bach’s teaching – a notable contribution to his oldest son Wilhelm Friedemann’s virtuoso organ technique.
Built in the 1760s, "Blue House" is one of the most beautiful palaces of Basel from the late Baroque period. The wealthy owner, Lucas Sarasin, was an avid amateur musician; he put on not only an instrument but also a music collection, of which over 1,300 titles are preserved in the University Library Basel. The Trio Sonatas for two violins and basso continuo take, with 214 titles, a special place and were probably acquired in order for Sarasin and its concertmaster could play together: works of the best contemporary composers, of which for this SACD the "Mannheim" Johann and Carl Stamitz and Anton Fils and the "Milan" Sammartini, Conti, Pugnani and J. Chr. Bach were chosen. The award-winning young ensemble "The musical garden" makes this music "between the Baroque and Classical" into an impressive experience.