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.
The history of German baroque music is inevitably dominated by the towering figures of Schütz, Buxtehude, Bach and Handel; and yet, throughout the period, there was much fine, rewarding and delightful music being produced by their colleagues and contemporaries, and Johann Philipp Krieger is an excellent example. This Nuremberg composer was a contemporary of Corelli, and in many ways his instrumental music is related in style. These twelve Trio Sonatas approximating to the 'sonata da chiesa' format are attractive, beautifully crafted and tuneful pieces, each one consisting of several sections with frequent changes of pace and mood within each work but resulting in a satisfying, finely structured unity.
Rarely do we feel the presence of Bach so vividly on a recording as we do here with this set of Trio Sonata arrangements, performed by violins, viola da gamba, and harpsichord. What a perfect combination, thanks to Richard Boothby's settings and to the wonderfully synergistic interaction among these very experienced early music players–violinists Catherine Mackintosh (in her best recorded performance in a while) and Catherine Weiss, gambist Boothby, and harpsichordist Robert Woolley.
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.