Italian Violin Sonatas: Fabio Biondi/Europa Galante
Classical album by Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi, Francesco Geminiani, Francesco Maria Veracini, Giuseppe Tartini, Michele Mascitti, and Pietro Locatelli
One tends to associate the virtuoso violin repertoire with the 19th century, but in their own way these five sonatas, written between 1714 and 1743, offer an equally dazzling display of speed, facility, bow control and tonal variety. No wonder: the composers … see full wiki
"Felefeber" is a Scandinavian word for fiery fiddling, and that's what Fabio Biondi has to offer on this disk - virtuosic bow-work on his Baroque violin, with stunning use of double stops and the full tonal potential of gut strings. I know I've given out a lot of five-star reviews to Baroque ensembles lately, so I'll have to give this disk 6 or 7 to distinguish it. The big surprise for me is the Pysche suite by Michele Mascitti, a composer I'd never encountered before. It's fresh, eccentric, complex, and intellectually as well as sensually satisfying. The continuo of organ, cello, and theorbo is both brilliantly supportive of the fiddle-fire and at times independently expressive. The A minor sonata by Francesco Geminiani is also powerfully shaped and full of affect. If your sense of the Baroque violin repertory is centered on Vivaldi, you will be very delightfully surprised to hear how different the same musical language could sound when "spoken" by other Italian virtuosi. This disk was released in 2003; my only complaint is that it's taken four years to reach me.
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