de Castro: Trio sonatas op. 1

La Real Cámara
Glossa GCD 920314

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hese ten trio sonatas from Castro’s 1695 Bologna publication Trattenimenti armonici  are delightfully inventive and unsurprisingly reminiscent of the trumpet music emanating from that city at roughly this time. The performers inventively alternate a continuo theorbo and guitar, although perhaps less imaginatively a harpsichord is also invariably present. The playing is generally tidy and musical, with appropriate degrees of passion and rhythmical whimsy. Lead violinist Emilio Moreno provides an exhaustive and very readable programme note. But now comes a considerable and unexpected BUT. Those of you who glance at the star ratings before reading the review will be surprised at my two-star rating for this Glossa recording. Glossa recording are normally of the very highest standard of clarity and depth, but there is something very far wrong here. The recorded sound is very shallow with a very narrow dynamic spectrum and suspiciously drops away instantly when the instruments stop playing. Has it been misguidedly fed through some filter? I am at a loss to account for it, but it is clear that La Real Cámara and Castro have been very poorly served by the Glossa engineers. As a dedicated reviewer I persisted to the end of the CD to see if the sound quality improved or if I got used to it, but actually it sounded more and more ridiculous, and I am afraid there is no way round the fact that this odd shortcoming is bound to limit anyone’s enjoyment of this CD.

D. James Ross

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