1717: Memories of a Journey to Italy

Floral design

Scaramuccia (Javier Lupiáñez violin, Inés Salina violoncello, Patrícia Vintém harpsichord)
Snakewood Editions SCD201801
Music by Albinoni, Fanfani, Montanari, Pisendel, Giuseppe Valentini & Vivaldi

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he title of this excellent project refers to a study tour undertaken by Johann Georg Pisendel – at the expense of the Saxon court – which saw him rub shoulders with all of the leading Italian violinists of his day. As well as pieces written especially for him, there are sonatas written in collaboration or dedicated by one of them to another, and a couple of world premiere recordings. Albinoni’s B flat major sonata is far more virtuosic than most of the music you may know by him (probably inspired by the German’s virtuosity). The sonata in E minor by Montanari and the Vivaldi/Pisendel piece are both augmented by sets of variations (legitimately enough, since these are frequently a feature of the Red Priest’s works) by the violinist and harpsichordist of the group. Clearly, this is demanding music – Lupiáñez combines a fine bowing arm with some nifty fingerwork, seemingly undaunted by the technical challenges, while his continuo partners provide stylishly supportive accompaniment. It is a sobering thought that these six extremely fine works represent only the tip of the tip of the iceberg that is Pisendel’s library of works gathered from his Italian contacts – that the library in Dresden has made them all available online is encouraging groups like Scaramuccia (who have even established their own recording company to produce this CD!) to explore the vast riches which it contains. Given the high standards set here, I hope it will not be too long before we hear more from them!

Brian Clark

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