Mario Ferraris, Angelo Ephrikian, Giovanni Adamo, William Bignami, Giuliano Nalesso, Federico Zampieri (violins), Giorgio Alessandri, Franco Borgatti, Armando Burattin (violas), Enrico Miori, Antonio Pocaterra, Francesco Bruni, Nazareno Cicoria, Enrico Emiliani (cellos), Bruno Ferraris, Osvaldo Rizzoli, Artemio Versari (double basses), Maria Isabella de Carli (harpsichord & organ), Emilia Fadini (harpsichord) & Edward Hankins Tarr, Holger Eichorn (trumpet & cornets)
CD - 4 discs
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Born in 1639, Alessandro Stradella stands as one of the most productive and popular musicians of his generation – a composer who enjoyed such a high reputation that he never lacked powerful patrons and commissions. Regarded by some as the Mozart of the 17th century, Stradella wrote most of his works for voices; this set documents Stradella’s other side. Twelve sonatas for violin and continuo, nine Sonatas for two violins and continuo, various other ‘miscellaneous’ compositions such as the Sonata ‘for two choirs’, featuring two violins and two cornets (each with continuo); a joyful cornucopia of styles and instrumental combinations. Although there is little key contrast in each individual piece, variation of tempo and metre offer contrast between movements, and Stradella is deftly inventive in his use of figures based on adjacent notes. For all the density of their counterpoint, these sonatas revel in a continual readiness to push the boundaries of 17th-century conventions.
Stradella’s instrumental works have long been viewed as incidental cut-offs – products of necessity rather than compulsion. As this compilation shows, however, his musicianship shines through even when no text is present. Newton Classics regulars Mario Ferraris and Angelo Ephrikian are soaked in the idiom, and offer pleasing, elegant performances.