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.
If Michel Corrette was a little over-enthusiastic in crediting Corelli with the invention of both sonata and concerto form as it was known and understood in the mid-eighteenth century, Roger North had only to judge by the enormous popularity of the Italian master's works in England in the 1720s to deduce that they would be immortal… Monica Huggett…brings a sweetness of tone and a perfection of technical control that cannot but inspire admiration on their own count, but in combination with such unerring musical insight as is to be found here makes these into quite masterly interpretations… The continuo members of Trio Sonnerie are unerringly tasteful in their playing, while Nigel North on theorbo and other plucked instruments is quite stunningly imaginative. North's choice of the baroque guitar and his playing of it in Corelli's Follia Variations is quite inspired.(Tess Knighton)
This is music from Norway, from Bergen specifically, written in the early eighteenth century. Composer Georg von Bertouch has an interesting biography; a German-born musician of French extraction, he was also a military leader who participated in 22 battles in Denmark (of which Norway was a part), Germany, and France. A bit older than Bach and Telemann, and geographically even farther removed from the fonts of Italian innovation, he did not (on the evidence of the music here) engage with Vivaldi or with Telemann's galant styles.
Remastered from the original LP recording, this performance is now available on CD.
Leclair was one of the best violinists of his times. The story is told that he had to compete in a musical duel with Locatelli in Kassel - then a most highly popular form of musical entertainment. The chronicler describes his "devilish" playing, contrasting it with the "angelic" style of his Italian rival. His trio sonatas suggest familiarity with the Italian school but also draw on entirely independent French traditions and shine with ingenious inventions and harmonic refinements.