musica artificiosa

NeoBarock
73:35
Ambitus amb 96 980
Johann Baal: Sonata in A minor (Möller)
Biber: Partias IV & VI ex Harmonia artificiosa-ariose
Mayr: Trio sonata in D minor, Solo sonata in D (Ries)
Erlebach: Sonata Terza in A
Kerll: Sonata in F
Schmelzer: Sonata in F

When one has seen performers live in concert it impacts on how one listens to and hears a recording. While the concert I heard was of music by Fasch and Stölzel, yet the contagious enthusiasm and excitement they brought to it is clearly audible in this foray into the kaleidoscopic world of the stylus fantasticus. Where recent recordings have focussed on one violin, or a violin in dialogue with gamba, here the repertoire is for two “treble instruments” (I have to tread carefully in case pedants object to me calling a viola treble!) and continuo. Both players (Volker Möller, whose excellent booklet notes include an obituary of the almost unknown Johann Baal, a cleric who unfortunately came to an unsavoury end when he used a door that led to a cliffside…) are equally at home on the scordatura version of their instruments; Möller notes how Schmelzer uses such different scordaturas for the two violins that the work sounds like a sonata for viola and violino piccolo. With all the intricacy going on in the melody parts, NeoBarock wisely limit their continuo section to cello and either harpsichord or organ, and their simple accompaniments provide the perfect backdrop. The booklet and casing are decorated by an original artwork by Gerhard Richter, for which the performers express their thanks; I would like to express my thanks to all concerned for a fabulous hour’s entertainment.

Brian Clark