Pyrotechnia

Pyrotechnia
: Fire & Fury from 18th-century Italy
Bojan Čičić and The Illyria Consort
Delphian DCD34249. 72’52

Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in D, RV205 “fatto per Maestro Pisendel
Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in D, RV213a “per Signora Anna Maria
Tartini: Violin Concerto in E, D 48 “Rondinella vaga e bella
Locatelli: Violin Concerto in D, Op3/12 “Il laberinto armonico

‘Fireworks’ is a term often used to describe virtuosic playing or advanced musical textures but in this case, the connection with the word is real. This CD from violinist Bojan Čičić and his Illyria Consort gets its title from the book Pyrotechnia, the earliest guide to recreational fireworks. It was published in 1635 by the gunner, John Babington. The four violin concertos chosen to display Bojan Čičić’s own virtuosity all have movements ending in a capriccio, a virtuosic display cadenza that became the norm in the later Classical and Romantic era concertos. Several of Vivaldi’s own improvised cadenzas have survived through copies made by his own pupils.

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Pieter Hellendaal: Violin Sonatas

Pieter Hellendaal: Violin Sonatas
Antoinette Lohmann, Furor Musicus
Globe
, GLO 5271. 72’21

In what is billed as a “hand-numbered limited edition” on the paper slip on the off-white card CD case (which, as you can see above, doesn’t show up too well against a white background), violinist Antoinette Lohmann and Furor Musicus offer world premiere recordings of Violin Sonatas by Pieter Hellendaal (1721-1799). He was an Anglo-Dutch composer, organist and violinist, sometimes referred to as  “The Elder”, to differentiate him from his musician son. He was born in Rotterdam and, aged 30, moved to England where he lived for the rest of his 78-year life. Continue reading

Tartini & Veracini: Italian Violin Sonatas

Tartini & Veracini: Italian Violin Sonatas
Rie Kimura & Fantasticus
Resonus RES10148. 57’58

Although Tartini is better known nowadays, no doubt because of the myths surrounding his ‘Devil’s Trill’ sonata, it was the virtuoso violinist Veracini that was hitting the headlines in early 17th century Italy, Dresden and London. There is a certain degree of comeuppance in the fact that Tartini was described (by Charles Burney) as a humble and timid man, whereas the now relatively unknown Veracini was considered ‘foolishly vainglorious’. When Veracini descended upon London, Roger North was scathing in his criticism of the influx of Italian violinists, based on hearing Veracini play – in a style he described as ‘not better than insane’.

Veracini’s two Sonata on this CD, from his 1744 Sonate Accademiche perhaps Continue reading