Passaggio: Eine Barocke Alpenüberquerung

Georg Kallweit violin, Björn Colell theorbo, chitarrone & baroque guitar
Alpha 540
Music by Bartolotti, Biagio Marini, Muffat, Pandolfi Mealli, Piccinini & Schmelzer

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]opped and tailed by two of the most fabulous 17th-century violin sonatas (by Schmelzer and Muffat), this CD sets out to trace the dissemination of Italian violin technique into the German-speaking world. The musicians call their duo “Ombra e luce”, which is a clever description of both their quest in exploring this repertoire and their actual sound, which is constantly changing, according to the style of the music they are playing. Colell only uses the guitar to play Bartolotti’s suite “di chitarra Spagnola”, and employs the chitarrone for a piece by Piccinini and then as continuo for an anonymous “musicalisch Uhrwerck”. Biagio Marini’s sonata “per sonar con due corde” will be familiar to anyone interested in early violin repertoire, but they will rarely have heard it played so freshly. Kallweit’s playing is flawless without being soulless; undaunted by any of the technical difficulties, he bows effortlessly, producing an even sound over the range of his instrument, drawing the ear into his world, as all the best performers do. After a long period of discs devoted to complete sets by one composer, or “greatest hits”, it makes such a pleasant change to have a well-balanced recital that (not withstanding the inclusion of the Marini and Muffat sonatas) shines fresh light on neglected repertoire, especially in such a lively and engaging way.

Brian Clark

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