Les Timbres (Yoko Kawakubo violin, Myriam Rignol viola da gamba, Julien Wolfs harpsichord)
131:04 (2 CDs in a card triptych)
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These first two publications by Buxtehude, printed at the composer’s own expense, proved so successful that his future as a published composer was secured. It is only in relatively recent times that we have begun to rediscover Buxtehude’s versatility in a range of genres, and it has once again become apparent why it is to Lübeck and to Buxtehude that the young J. S. Bach headed to perfect his art. These 14 trio sonatas are firmly in the stylus phantasticus, the quirky and inventive manner prevalent in Germany and Italy at the time, and like all European music at this time, they flirt with French and Italian flavours over a ground of thorough Germanic counterpoint. If not quite as flamboyant as his contemporary Heinrich Biber, Buxtehude is a more consistent musician, although at the same time writing attractive melodies which both beguile and surprise. These small-scale pieces are charming in their inventiveness, and these wonderfully imaginative performances are technically impeccable and beautifully persuasive. The recording is very vivid and captures just the right degree of resonance. These artfully presented CDs make an excellent introduction to the composer’s wide range of musical accomplishments and are deeply enjoyable in themselves.
D. James Ross