G. B. Bononcini: Divertimenti da camera

Giovanni Paganelli harpsichord
54:40
Brilliant Classics 95611

These eight Divertimenti da Camera were originally published for a single instrument (violin or recorder) and basso continuo but were immediately republished in a transcription for solo harpsichord by an unknown hand, with the upper part given some elaborate decorative figuration. Originally published in 1722, two years after Bononcini’s arrival in London, they were republished in 1742, renamed as Suites. Most consist of four short movements arranged in the da chiesa slow-fast-slow-fast configuration; two use just three movements in slow-fast-faster order. They are familiar from various recordings with recorder but this seems to be the first recording of the harpsichord versions. Their relative neglect, in favour of the keyboard suites of Bononcini’s younger rival, Handel, is regrettable since this is attractive music and well worth listening to on the harpsichord. It shows influences of the various national styles current at the time. Paganelli plays with stylistic panache, providing good rhythmic drive and making effective use of agogic accents and contrasting registrations. The liner notes are informative about the music but provide no information about the harpsichord – clearly a big double-manual instrument. Recording quality is excellent, combining close miking with a resonant acoustic. A satisfying recording.

Noel O’Regan

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  • Performance
  • Recorded sound
  • Booklet notes
  • Overall presentation
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