Arcangelo Corelli's legacy is immense, and even he knew it. The instrumental sonata in a few structurally coherent movements, as it exists today, is essentially his invention. The legacy under consideration on this Belgian release is narrower: after one sonata by Corelli himself, you hear works by his students and followers, many of whom played major roles in the musical life of England in the early 18th century. The most famous of these was Francesco Geminiani, who gets a lot of ink in the booklet (in English, French, German, and Italian) but is oddly not represented in the program. Instead there's music by a host of lesser lights, much of it known only to scholars; the sonatas by Giovanni Carbonelli, Giovanni Mossi, and Pietro Castrucci, as well as an unaccompanied gigue by Antonio Montanari, are world-premiere recordings. The Violin Sonata, Op. 8/10, of Pietro Locatelli effectively integrates showpiece virtuosity with clean structural lines, but the rest of the music tends to pick up on one aspect or another of Corelli's music -- harmonic sequences, technical challenges, or the ornament-encrusted melody of Corelli's slow movements -- and imitate it. The peformances by the Musica Antiqua Roma historical-instrument ensemble are of the heavily accented, highly dramatic sort that has become common in Italy, with a three-person continuo (keyboard, cello,and triple harp) imparting plenty of rhythmic drive and rasp. The average buyer may be satisfied with music by Corelli and the other major figures of the Italian and British scenes (Veracini is one to try if you're interested in exploring), but this will be of interest to serious fans of the High Baroque sonata.
-- All Music Guide
Composer: Antonio Montanari, Arcangelo Corelli, Gasparo Visconti, Giovanni Mossi, Giovanni S. Carbonelli, Pietro Antonio Locatelli, Prospero Castrucci
Orchestra/Ensemble: Musica Antiqua Roma
Performer: Riccardo Minasi
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