G. B .Vitali: Suonate a due violini, op. 2

Italico Splendore
Tactus TC 632203

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These trio sonatas by Vitali are essentially sonatas da chiesa, intended for use in the church and the home, which explains the fact that the occasionally unfettered creativity of late-17th-century violin music is slightly muted here. Employed at the Este Court in Modena, Vitali would have been privileged to have been surrounded by first-class music-making as well as an inexhaustible archive of written music, and these pieces have a wonderfully cosmopolitan quality, as well as a striking sense of assurance. Very well regarded during his own lifetime, Vitali may now not be considered as belonging in the top ranks of Italian Baroque composers, but the present CD presenting all twelve of his opus 2 Sonatas of 1682 suggests a gifted and original musical imagination at work. Within the conventions of the Sonata da Chiesa, Vitali manages to produce melodies of melting beauty such as the Adagio of the fourth sonata. In addition to the two excellent Baroque violinists Claudio Andriani and Micol Vitali (a descendant?) playing wonderfully sonorous original Italian Baroque instruments, Italico Splendore field a pleasingly varied continuo team of cello, violone, archlute/theorbo/Baroque guitar and organ/harpsichord.

D. James Ross

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