Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli : Sonate, Roma 1669

Opera Quinta
Tactus TC 621602

This collection of 17th-century instrumental music provides a cross-section on strings, continuo and percussion of dances from Mealli’s 1669 publication. Like most of these dance collections, Mealli’s is pleasantly melodic and rhythmically engaging – it has to be said that the present performance is a little rough around the edges, over-resonant in its recording and uncomfortably dominated for no particular reason by a bewildering variety of percussion instruments. The brief episodes where the percussion drops out and the strings are more clearly heard are the most effective parts of this account. The effectiveness of the package is also not helped by the almost unintelligible English translation of Fabrizio Longo’s programme note – it looks as if he did it himself, a foolish saving which largely deprives English readers of the details of what sounds like an excitingly colourful life-story. I think what emerges from this programme is that Mealli’s music probably deserves wider attention, but that this presentation raises interest rather than satisfying it.

D. James Ross

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