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GRAMOPHONE ( 04/ 2019)
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Pan Classics

Code-barres / Barcode : 7619990103955


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Reviewer: Mark Seow

The big story here is the first recording of a I agree with the business consultant Larry Alton when he describes the Chiller font as a ‘good choice for a Halloween party invitation but not much else’. Luckily the CD artwork that resembles an ICT school project from the 1990s does not do justice to this, at points, delightful recording from Ensemble Musica Narrans. We are presented with a fictitious competition between viol and violin – frets versus fingers, so to speak. Rattinger on the viol begins with vigour. He marks out his territory with a toe-tapping, finger-clicking Galliard by Tobias Hume. Unfortunately, communicative energy and clarity do not continue in his performance of the Suite in D by Marais. The Gigue is scratchy and frantic; the Chaconne lacks lilt. Brief gloriousness, however, is achieved in the Sarabande, where Rattinger’s luminous sound reaches full bloom.

Tur Bonet on the violin then steps up to the plate with Corelli’s Op 5 No 5, that staple of baroque violinists everywhere. Her sound is sweet, with superb clarity. But amid all the ornamental spaghetti there is little sense of pulse and dance. The fine border between energy and mess is too often transgressed: both Vivaces are scrappy. Inconsistent intonation – that bugbear when combining fretted and non-fretted instruments, as well as harpsichord continuo – mars many moments. When viol and violin finally engage one another in Marais’s La sonnerie de Ste Genevieve du Mont de Paris, this battle is tame. More welcome instead is Hume’s ‘Hark, hark’, where Rattinger creates a world of skeletal mystery with an interesting interpretation of the earliest known notation of col legno (Hume instructs the performer to ‘drum this with the backe of your bow’). Special mention must be given to the opulent, sometimes sexy, harpsichord solo playing from Ralf Waldner in the Folia improvisations. In all, an annoyingly inconsistent recording.

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