Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), one of Italy's greatest baroque composers, wrote a large amount of music in all the genres popular at the time but it was these 12 Violin Sonatas Op. 5 composed just before the 18th century was about to dawn that really cemented Corelli's fame as the foremost model for violin writing.
Today, Corelli's reputation as being the unrivalled champion of instrumental mastery has survived almost intact. The publication of these works some time after their composition was one of the most unique events in the history of music; by 1800 the Op. 5 had run to 35 reprints and these sonatas were known all throughout Europe.
In these pieces, the composer offers an exhaustive compendium of the 'da chiesa' and 'da camera' styles, making an attentive distinction between the two branches – the former contrapuntal, the latter in the form of courtly dance suites.
The result is a collection of staggering beauty focusing on a number of musical forms and technical difficulties framed in an aura of intense expressive concentration.
The Accademia Bizantina together with Montanori and Dantone manage to capture all the sensitive priority of these mature creations, and their affinity with Corelli is all too apparent in their wonderfully articulate and feliticious phrasing. In their hands the music seems to float and dance in thin air like a tiny feather being caressed by the sweet evening breeze. The clean and immediate sound quality coupled with Raffaele Mellace's superlative annotations compel one to consider this album as one of the finest Corelli recordings to be issued in recent years.
Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech