Bound to Nothing: The German Stylus Fantasticus

Fantasticus (Rie Kimura violin, Robert Smith viola da gamba, Guilliermo Brachetta harpsichord )
71:15
resonus RES10156
Buxtehude: Praeludium in g, Sonata in A op. 2 no. 5
Erlebach: Sonatas II in e, III in A
J. P. Krieger: Sonata X in A
Kühnel: Sonata VIII in A
Walther Cappricio [sic] in C

It does not seem so long ago that I was (rightly) praising Fantasticus’s recital of sonatas by Tartini and Veracini. Arguably the repertoire on the present disc – chamber music for violin, gamba and keyboard – is what a group like this “should be playing”; instrumental composers letting their imaginations take flight, even if the Erlebach sonatas are broadly cast as suites of dances with more abstract introductions. The style comes into its own when the harmonic rhythm slows down and tuneful melody gives way to quasi recitative, or to sequential passages that expand exploratively, uncertain of their final destination. This is perhaps nowhere better demonstrated than in the Kühnel sonata for gamba and continuo, where the whole range of the instrument is exploited. If Rie Kimura’s violin was in the spotlight last time, here she must share it with both her colleagues and all three (of course!) shine. As I posibly wrote at the end of my previous review of this group, I cannot wait to hear what they turn their hands to next – they make me smile.

Brian Clark