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GRAMOPHONE (Awards / 2000)
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Harmonia Gold
HMG 507241




Code-barres / Barcode: 0794881922826

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Reviewer: David Fanning


 

'Étonne-moi,' Diaghilev famously once said. Maybe there was a Diaghilev around in Innsbruck in the late 1650s when Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi was composing his violin sonatas. Either that, or the composer was driven by some extraordinary inner demon. His sonatas are a potent synthesis of the most recherché inventions of the early baroque and the gradually coalescing mid-baroque instrumental style. He is all but unknown in documentary history, and the music needs imaginative help, as the appropriate ornamentation is only hinted at.

 

Andrew Manze and Richard Egarr have taken the cue and have opened up 'a Pandora's box of possibilities'. They use every trick in the book, plus a few I doubt that any book would sanction. At one moment you think you have strayed into a Bulgarian folk improvisation; the next you are marvelling at a passacaglia on a near-complete chromatic descent that makes 'Dido's Lament' sound conservative. I was mightily relieved by a chance conversation with a baroque specialist, not known for his tolerance for inauthenticity, who confessed to having been as bowled over as I, a mere enthusiast.

 

So specialist or not, do give this music a try. Its inventiveness is remarkable, its freedom from constraint astonishing, its realisation here inspired.


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