Born in Brescia around 1571, Giovanni Battista Fontana lived in Venice, Rome and Padua, where he died during the plague of 1630. His music surprises by the mastery of counterpoint, the simplicity and the expression of its slow movements, the complexity of its ornamentation and the elegant vivacity of its short dance sections. Nicknamed 'dal Violino' and described as "one of the most singular virtuosos the age has seen". Fontana has left us an outstanding example of early Baroque instrumental music. On this release, Daniel Cuiller leads the ensemble Stradivaria in a selection of sonatas.
About Dario Castello and Giovanni Battista Fontana, two Italian composers from the turn of the 17th century, musical scholarship hasn’t much to tell us. We know as little about Castello, who was leading an ensemble at St. Mark’s around 1629, as we do about the exact birth and death dates of Fontana, who came from Brescia and probably perished during the 1630 outbreak of plague in Padua. Yet there are a number of surviving works by both men that reveal them to have been remarkable composers for the violin. Two books by Castello of sonate concertate in one to four parts, in stil moderno with continuo, were printed during the composer’s lifetime. In his new recording violinist John Holloway has selected a number of sonatas from this collection to couple with similar works by Fontana, some originally for violin as well as some conceived for other string or wind instruments.
Originally released in 1964 and 1965 on the Fontana label. Included among the ranks of The Mindbenders were future 10cc members Eric Stewart (at the time of these recordings) on guitar and vocals, and later (1968) Graham Gouldman on bass. For straightforward solid meat'n'potatoes British Beat, one need look no further than Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders. What they lacked in originality they more than made up for in good old-fashioned exuberance and panache.