Arparla (Davide Monti violin, Maria Christina Cleary arpa doppia)
Stradivarius STR 37023
To have the complete op. 5 set of 1649 is a bonus for lovers of the violin repertoire of the period. The performers have paired each of the sonatas with one of the rhetorical Affects, e.g. Mirth, Philosophy, Perseverance, etc., although these were not indicated in the composer’s score. The set concludes with a sonata for solo harp, one for two violins, and one for violin in imitation of a trumpet, with added strumming guitar and drums.
First impressions from the opening track of any disc are important to the listener. The first sonata, where the harp opened with an unaccompanied passage, struck me immediately – and somewhat irreverently – as more appropriate for “Listen with Mother” than for early 17th-century repertoire. Yet when used as a straightforward accompaniment, the harp continuo was given a much more stylistically apposite realisation. Monti’s playing is here always polished, with suitable ornamentation. The notes disappointingly concentrate on Cesare Ripa’s description of the ‘affects’ rather than on the music itself.