Article Book

RECERCARE XXXIII/1-2 2021 Journal for the study and practice of early music

directed by Arnaldo Morelli
LIM Editrice [2021]
201 pp, €30
ISSN 1120-5741

The 2021 RECERCARE contains four studies (two in Italian, one in French, and one in English), followed by, before the Summaries in Italian and English, a 21-page double Communication in Italian with 11 glossy colour plates concerning the 1590 portrait on the cover of this issue. In  ‘La “gentildama” e liutista bolognese Lucia Garzoni in un ritratto di Lavinia Fontana’ Marco Tanzi correctly identifies the noblewoman of the portrait and gives convincing reasons for attributing it to Fontana. Dinko Fabris discusses the ‘Elementi musicali …’ it contains.

Lucia Bonasoni Garzoni (b. 1561-?) was an aristocratic Bolognese lute player praised in a sonnet and two madrigals for her beauty, talent and character. Four other portraits of aristocratic women known to be by Fontana (including another one of Lucia) and two paintings with groups of women are also shown and discussed, including a concert on Parnasso with Apollo playing the lira da braccio while Pegasus romps in the background, Lucia playing the recorder, and the other eight ‘muses’ on various instruments (including a lute like Lucia’s). Their instruments and the fashionable hairdo they share are slightly hard to make out on a small page, but a magnifying glass helps. Details in the five single portraits, on the other hand, are impressive. Fabris describes Lucia’s not quite contemporary 6-choir lute and the music underneath it: a thick, open manuscript book shows a third of a page with about 5 bars of a solo voice part in contemporary notation (four crotchets or two minims per bar) on pentagrams, aligned over the lute accompaniment in tablature on 6 lines. This combination, and the horizontal format, are said by Fabris to be rare, but it isn’t clear how else lute players could have accompanied, especially if they were also singing. There is no conjecture about an actual piece. Only four syllables are clear, which is unfortunate, and perhaps why guessing the two words involves fortuity or lack thereof: [pr-]ovida, [impr-]ovida, [a-]vida or [ar?-]ida +  for[-tuna] or sor[-te]. A singer might recognize the fragment!   

In ‘Polso e musica negli scritti di teoria musicale tra la fine del Quattrocento e la metà del Seicento’ Martino Zaltron presents some cross-disciplinary theories of the past about pulse and music theory, showing how ancient science and mathematics (in this case medicine and music) filtered down into Renaissance theory and on into the mid-17th century. He cites Tintoris, Gaffurio, Lanfranco, Aaron, Zarlino, Zacconi, Pisa, and Mersenne. Whatever familiarity readers may have with tactus and mensural proportions, and a personal sense of the relation between one’s pulse (and breath) to a piece of music, what is unexpected is the inversion of emphasis to the medical side of the relationship. Doctors Joseph Strus (1510-1569), Franz Joël (1508-1579), Samuel Hafenreffer (1587-1660) and polymath Athanasius Kircher ‘notated’ patterns of heartbeats, sometimes associated with age or voice registers (suggesting pitch and dynamics), by note-values, using mixed values to record them for diagnoses. Hafenreffer even used a 4-line staff to place the values (from crotchets to longs) in ascending, descending or undulating rows. They curiously resemble cardiograms, and hospital oscilloscope monitors showing the frequencies and intensities of heart and lung activity.

At a deeper level, this article will stimulate readers to think of music’s capacity to reflect transient physiological humours, feelings and states of mind and how what began as a rather primitive musical physical-medical relationship was refined by musical theorists and professors of medicine. Zaltron has centered his research on musical-historical-medical writings in the Middle Ages and Renaissance at the Conservatory of Vicenza, and the University of Padua, historically, after Bologna, the second in Italy at which medicine was taught, from the 13th century.

Adriano Giardina, in ‘Un catalogue pour improviser: les Ricercari d’intavolatura d’organo de Claudio Merulo’, concludes that the eight simple but long sectional ricercars of 1567 by Merulo (1533-1604), his first publication for organ, printed by Merulo in Italian keyboard tablature, were not primarily composed for performance, but rather for teaching aspiring organists how to extemporise contrapuntal ricercars, i.e. how to do so a mente and di fantasia – a skill required in church functions. Showing examples of the contrapuntal procedures used, accompanied by simple or parallel contrapuntal voices, he reasons that their purpose was didactic. Giardina also claims support for his thesis from Merulo’s younger contemporary Girolamo Diruta (1546-1624/25), who became his student (and A. Gabrieli’s) in 1574 at the age of at least 28, and transmitted their teachings and his own in a comprehensive treatise, Il Transilvano (1593 and Seconda Parte 1609), planned and completed over several decades, thanks to a long collaboration with Merulo, who endorsed the first part in 1592. Absent a preface to the 1567 Ricercari the thesis is possible but not provable, and implicit confirmation from Il Transilvano lacking.

So I have some reservations about what Giardina reads into Diruta. Ricercars and keyboard tablature do occupy significant portions of Il Transilvano, especially in the Seconda Parte, where Diruta covers modes and strict versus free counterpoint, in some ground-breaking detail, and advocates strongly for the use of Italian keyboard tablature (closed score notation) to facilitate the approximately correct and playable reduced arrangements of vocal and instrumental polyphonic music on keyboards. Tablature ensures the beginnings if not always the durations of essential notes, omits or transposes unreachable ones, notates very few rests because each hand usually has something to do, and respects the imitative counterpoint heard even where not clearly apparent on the page. It is far from ideal for illustrating how a ricercar is composed.

In fact, the 12 ricercars included in Book 2 of the Seconda Parte (pairs by Luzzaschi, Picchi, Banchieri, Fattorini and four by Diruta himself) are all in open score. They are there to be played and are thereby didactic for players who are learning to compose. Whereas with mosaic type in tablature Merulo can stack but not stagger three simultaneous notes on a staff, with only two possible stem directions. Space dictates which way very short or missing stems on inner voice notes point – perhaps why Merulo avoids voice crossings in these ricercars. The voices can be discerned in this tablature, after some scrutiny if not quite at first sight:

Being his own publisher, Merulo must have aimed to sell his music for organ both to professionals seeking handy modal material in excerptible sections, and to learners not yet up to composing ricercars, let alone improvising them. By playing them eventually by heart, their hands and ears might also acquire familiarity with the contrapuntal techniques. To that extent every composition played is somewhat propaedeutic to extemporization. Tablature slightly confounds this from occurring as less experienced players would have had to do the analysis that Giardina did in order to catalogue the techniques Merulo used.

While Diruta gives clear rules for strict and common counterpoint, and on how to compose and transpose within the modes, he never tells his Transylvanian pupil to improvise. Learning to play a mente or di fantasia does not exclude doing so next to pen and paper or an erasable slate, and those ambiguous terms are found only a couple of times in Il Transilvano. Their primary meanings are to play a mente, by heart; and to play or compose di fantasia, inventing rather than adopting a known composition as the basis for a new one. Memorization and invention are prerequisite skills for successful improvisation, but first of all for learning to compose, which comes first.

In fact, Giardina also mentions Diruta’s inclusion of 46 of Gabriele Fattorini’s 320 examples of elaborate ‘cadences’ in 4-part open score. He tells the Transylvanian to memorize them and to play them in transposition – and they are not mere chord progressions, but contrapuntal phrases up to 14 semibreves in length, with mixed note-values from semibreves down to quavers. A repertory of these ‘cadences’ in the hands and mind might well pass for improvisations. Tablature was still controversial and rejected by musicians in 1593 and 1609. If Merulo’s purpose was didactic, why didn’t he publish them in open score so that players in 1567 would have understood them? Why didn’t Diruta even allude to improvisation in his treatise, compared to how strenuously he advocated for making keyboard notation easier to play from in tablature?

Yet, at the end of the first part of  Diruta’s Dialogo with the young Transylvanian, there is his personal account of arriving in Venice on Easter of 1574 and hearing a publicduellobetween Merulo and A. Gabrieli on the two organs of St Mark’s: they ‘dueled throughout the 18 years they were St Mark’s 1st and 2nd organists, though we don’t know exactly how. Were they improvising imitative rebuttals to each other’s improvised subjects, or did these eminent composers practice for their duels together? Diruta, already a keyboard player in 1566 when 20 years old and at 28 needing to perfect his technique in order to compete for posts, was swept away by their virtuosity – whether technical, creative, or improvisatory – and immediately arranged to study with both of them.

Extemporisation was indeed required of organists. To learn from Merulo’s ricercars, one would have had to sort out the voices in each, as Giardina has done, to note its devices. Applying the same techniques di fantasia, i.e. to an original subject, might then be within reach, especially when done al tavolino (at a table, i.e. in writing) rather than ex tempore. There is, in fact, a specific contemporary term for improvising counterpoint – contrappunto alla mente – and at least one organist, singer, composer and theorist, who dearly wanted to acquire that skill, gave personal testimony:

In the same year that Parte Seconda del Transilvano (1609) was reprinted (1622), Diruta’s contemporary, Ludovico Zacconi (1555-1627), in his Prattica di musica – Seconda Parte p. 84, writes: ‘… for however much, over time, I’ve frequented and conversed with masterful, mature and good musicians and seen how they teach their students counterpoint, I’ve never seen that [any] had a praise-worthy and easy way to teach their students contrappunto alla mente.  Zacconi came to Venice to study counterpoint under A. Gabrieli, remaining active there from 1577 to 1585. He composed four books of canons and also some ricercars for organ. If as late as 1622 he claims that ‘no one’ can teach contrapuntal improvisation, which he sought to learn to no avail, hadn’t  Gabrieli, Diruta, or Merulo himself recommended that he study the 1567 Ricercari, which he probably already knew? If so, sadly, they didn’t really help.

In ‘Dafne in alloro di Benedetto Ferrari: drammaturgia ‘alla veneziana’ per Ferdinando  III (Vienna, 1652)’ Nicola Usula does three things: he compares the Modena and Viennese manuscript versions of Dafne, Ferrari’s first dramatic work (a vocal introduction in seven scenes to a pastoral ballet); he includes his complete critical edition of its text in the Appendix; and in the framework of Ferrari’s biography he shows how Ferrari used its Viennese production as clever marketing to secure his return to Italy. It might surprise us to think of Ferrari (1603/4 – 1681) not exclusively as a composer and lutenist, and perhaps also as a singer, but equally creatively as a poet.

He frames his study in a biographical account of Ferrari’s career, starting with his libretto for Manelli’s 1637 Andromeda, his collaboration with Monteverdi’s 1640 Ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and the music from his 1640 Pastor regio that became the end of Monteverdi’s 1643 Incoronazione di Poppea with Busenello’s text as ‘Pur ti miro’. As early as 1641 he dedicated his 3rd book of Musiche varie a voce sola to the Holy Royal Emperor Ferdinand III, and while active in Modena at the court of Francesco I d’Este (1644-51), and at the peak of his popularity, was hired as a theorboist to work in Vienna from November 1651. His Dafne was performed February 12, 1652 and he probably played in other Venetian-style musical dramas until March 1653.

Besides the Viennese manuscript (in the National Library), a manuscript copy is held in Modena in the Biblioteca Estense together with four other librettos. It is this later poetic version which Usula draws some interesting conclusions about. His critical edition inserts in boxes the previous readings where amended, and the quality of Ferrari’s revisions and how they affect the ballet are much to his artistic credit.

‘A newly discovered recorder sonata attributed to Vivaldi: considerations on authorship’ of Sonata per flauto, I-Vc Correr 127.46 in the Biblioteca del Museo Correr in Venice will interest recorder players, players of other instruments, and listeners, and not only for the discovery of this particular work. A Summary is not given for this meticulous study by Inês de Avena Braga and Claudio Ribeiroperhaps because its first paragraph is in effect an introductory abstract, or because its thorough presentation of comparative musical details and the arguments against alternative uncertain attributions cannot be summarized. The gist is contained in its title, and the attribution is by the two authors. They point out the salient traits of Vivaldi’s compositional style over time, selecting from hundreds of direct self-quotes found between this sonata and specific Vivaldi works (39 sonatas, concertos, sacred works, operas from RV 1 to RV 820 being listed), with 25 musical examples filling 13 pages. They conscientiously consider how often other composers knowingly or probably not, also did so.

 Therefore sifting through many sonatas by other composers showing similar traits might in the end be futile, with no end of passages ‘by’ Vivaldi and ‘also by’ others. They concluded their positive attribution after exercising profound insight into the creative logic typical only of Vivaldi but not of his copiers, in matters of style and structure, and after applying every other musicological and historical tool as well. Everyone will be enriched by their discussion because the musical traits are not only shown but explained in functional terms: how sequences, phrases, a harmonic juxtaposition, particular melodic moves or chords were used. The authors’ ‘contextualization’ strikes right to the matter of the authenticity of a work by Vivaldi.

The study goes on, in a sort of postscript, to name a few specific composers who warranted consideration as composers of I-Vc Correr 127.46 , as their music was so clearly influenced by Vivaldi’s: Diogenio Bigaglia, Gaetano Meneghetti, Ignazio Sieber, Giovanni Porta. This, too, provides the readers with a fresh discussion of their musical styles with respect to Vivaldi’s, despite superficial borrowings. It is rare that musical analysis is so rewarding to read.

Barbara Sachs


XXIV Fantasie per il Flauto

Tabea Debus recorder
TYXart TXA 18105
Telemann+modern composers

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]nly very rarely do we get the chance to encounter musicians in full artistic control and bestowed with a technical ability that makes you sit and listen in awe. With these clever juxtapositions of Telemann’s original Fantasias for Flute, alongside these specially commissioned pieces by London’s City Music Foundation for this highly gifted recorder player in the composer’s anniversary year 2017, we have in effect, 12 new “Fantasias on Fantasias”! The notes in German on Fumiko Miyachi’s Air, described as “keck” (bold/daring) and “nachdenklich” (pensive/thoughtful), exploring the musical transition from Presto to Largo (after TWV40:6) could easily be two extremely apt headings for most of the newly conceived, commissioned works. This is a top-draw exposition of recorder playing that straddles not only the centuries, but has the clarity of tone of a Frans Brüggen, and the technical wizardry of a Piers Adams! The first encounter with these newly spawned “Fantasias” is a bit of a slap in the face, or hot coffee in the lap whilst on a comfortable train ride through the Baroque modes and “gouts réunis”, yet one does soon acclimatize to these departures which often still have a toe-hold in the original music. This is musical deconstruction at the highest level, and Tabea Debus matches her admirable skills with these new pieces, completely recognizable from their sources, like emergent Promethean offspring given new life! The return to Telemann often feels somehow spruced-up and informed by these new departures which hold you in their thrall. This well-conceived project lifts this recording above the many others that simply re-produce the neat formality and known qualities of the original set of Fantasias, with perhaps occasional flourishes, and takes it to a very impressive and imaginative level! On nine different recorders, too!! We are both enriched and informed by such an encounter.

David Bellinger

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Jacob van Eyck: Der Fluyten Lust-hof

Erik Bosgraaf recorders
212:50 (3 CDs in a box)
Brilliant Classics 93391

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his generous selection of music from van Eyck’s iconic Fluyten Lust-hof on three CDs is certainly the best account of this music I have heard and a wonderfully engaging listening experience. The some 150 compositions which van Eyck records (of which about half are performed here) are all notated for descant recorder, and in light of the blind musician’s obsession with the upper partials of the carillon, on which he was also a virtuoso, he may well have specialized on this instrument as he sat on summer evenings in the Janskerkhof in Utrecht entertaining passers-by with his lyricism and skill with divisions. One of the most beguiling features about this collection is that the performer and recording engineer manage to recapture the relaxed atmosphere and acoustic bloom of the music’s original context. Perhaps wisely given that the vast bulk of the music is for unaccompanied recorder, Erik Bosgraaf employs a range of more than a dozen recorders of different sizes which he plays with exquisite musicality and, where necessary, stunning virtuosity. However, unlike other performances I have heard from this publication, this is not all about technique, and is much more about the music. The Fluyten Lust-hof  is a delight to listen to as you do not listen for long without hearing a very familiar melody, with the eclectic composer/arranger ranging far and wide for his sources of inspiration. This is a collection with almost too many virtues to mention, but one of the chief among them are the exhaustive programme notes. There is a slight fly in the ointment in that their voluminous nature means that they only appear in Dutch – I feel that this important release deserves a specific English language edition from Brilliant Classics. However, with this one tiny reservation, I confess to being bowled over by this wonderfully entertaining package.

D. James Ross

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J. S. Bach: Sonatas BWV 525, 527–530

Jan Van Hoecke recorders, Jovanka Marville harpsichord & fortepiano
Alpha 237

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here have been various attempts over the years to rediscover the “original” versions of the six sonatas that have come down to us as trios for organ (BWV525–530); these have ranged from relatively simple transcriptions of the three lines for two violins, a bass stringed instrument that can cover the low notes not available to the violins and continuo, to interpretations using a broad palette of instrumental colours and combinations.

Personally I favour the former approach, even if every “solution” (which pre-supposes that there ever was a problem) involves a compromise of some sort. So too with this present recording featuring Jan Van Hoecke on no fewer than five instruments (including two in one work!), while the second melodic line and the accompanying bass are covered by Jovanka Marville on copies of a 1726 Zell harpsichord and a 1749 Silbermann fortepiano. Both are clearly relvant to Bach, and it is interesting to hear them in any context. According to the notes, only BWV 527 remains in its original key (D minor); I am puzzled that BWV525 (originally in E flat) was transposed up a tone, but then played on an instrument in the original key, but I expect there was some practical reason for the choices made (and I’m sure that Bach’s own musicians would have been faced with making such pragmatic decisions all the time!) The playing is excellent and the recorded sound everything we expect from Alpha; personally, though, I would not wish this to be my only version of the sonatas (there’s one missing, for a start) – even with the different makes and pitches of recorders, I’m afraid I need a more varied sound.

Brian Clark

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Sonates et Suites

Dan Laurin recorder, Anna Paradiso harpsichord, Domen Marinčič cello
Music by Blavet, Chédeville, Chéron, Dieupart, Hotteterre, Leclair, Marais & Philidor

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he royal monopoly on printing and distributing music produced a distinctive French style of music which was only affected by outside influences with the arrival of the Concert Spirituel in 1725. These public concerts were held in the Tuileries Palace during lent and other religious holidays when the opera houses were closed, and the very first one included Corelli’s Christmas concerto as well as two motets by Lalande. Works by other foreign composers such as Telemann and Vivaldi were sometimes included, though for some time the confrontation between the French and Italian styles caused much controversy. By the time the first composer on this disc, Nicolas Chédeville, published his set of sonatas Il Pastor Fido  in 1737, it was to his advantage to publish them under Vivaldi’s name rather than his own. This piece is one of the few on this disc where the treble recorder is included in the list of suitable instruments, amongst a variety of others including the musette and viele. Most of the other music was composed for the transverse flute but Dan Laurin gets over this problem by using the voice flute, or recorder in D, rather than transposing the music up a minor third. This works very well, though occasionally I missed the extra subtlety of expression which a flute can produce, and there are one or two slightly uncomfortable high notes. Laurin’s playing is brilliant as always, and it is fascinating to hear how he incorporates into it the essential elements of the French style. So many performers are inhibited by Hotteterre’s instructions on how to ornament his music. Not so Laurin, who uses all the flattements, inégalité, wide trills and other graces to produce a sparkling performance. His own extraordinary arrangement for solo recorder of the Marais Folies d’Espagne  for bass viol and continuo is surprisingly effective though I rather missed Anna Paradiso’s splendid harpsichord playing which is so essential to creating the mood of all the other music. Slovenian cellist Domen Marinčič is an equal partner in all the pieces with a particularly interesting bass line. I shall certainly be returning to this disc which, with music published between 1701 and 1740, presents a most enjoyable picture of the way musical styles developed in France over these forty years.

Victoria Helby

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Sheet music

Nicola Fiorenza: Konzert in c-Moll für Blockflöte, Streicher und Basso continuo…

Herausgegeben von Dario Benigno
Doblinger D20.283
42pp, £15.50

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] wonder if Nicola  (as named above the work) is a mistake, since the Vorwort  and Preface  both give the name as Nicolò. There is a similar difference in the composer’s dates (either 1700 or “after 1700”). He was born in Naples and became cellist in the court orchestra. The layout is treble recorder, three violins, viola and cello, but in fact the original heading was violetta, a five-stringed viola da gamba: I hope that when the parts are available, there will be separate parts for the gamba as it stands and the figured bass line. There are four movements: Largo amoroso, Andante  (particularly long), Largo  (in F minor) and Allegro. It is an interesting piece and I would love to hear it some time.

Clifford Bartlett

Sheet music

New from Wanhall

Jean Sigismond Cousser (Kusser): La cicala della cetra d’Eunomio Suite Nr. 3
Sechs Consortsuiten für 2 Oboen, Fagott, Streicher & B. c., Urtextausgabe – Herausgegeben von Michael Robertson
Walhall EW748 (Edition Schönborn)
14 + 34pp, €29.80 (score and parts)

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his impressive volume comes with three wind parts, five string parts and an optional written-out continuo realization.It is prefaced by a letter from the current Count of Schönborn-Wiesentheid, whose library contains (amongst many other jewels) the remained of the original print of this set; Robertson, whose doctoral thesis was on such repertoire, wisely adds a Basse de violon  to the seven surviving part-books. After an overture come a Sommeil, a Trio de Flûtes (where recorders replace the oboes above the violas), Les Songes, Les mesmes, Marche (key changes from D minor to D major), Trio doucement, Les Gladiateurs, Air (back to D minor), Polichinelles, Arlequins and finally an Air Gayment. Most are through composed, but some are bi-partite. Cousser/Kusser deserves to be better known and Robertson’s plans to issue all six works are to be welcomed.

Caldara: Missa Sancti Francisci
Herausgegeben von Alexander Opatrny
Walhall EW 539
5 + 64pp

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his is a substantial volume for a not terribly substantial piece; the Gloria is under 70 bars and the Credo a little over a hundred. That is not to say that the music is not very much worth exploring – Caldara writes well for chorus and, although there are solo sections throughout the work, they are not beyond most amateur singers and could easily be taken by members of a decent choir. It could have been half its size, had the doubling instruments (cornetto and two trombones at the top of the score and bassoon just above the continuo line) been assigned to that very role and their staves combined with the appropriate voice. I doubt I will be alone in finding the distribution of the staves awkward either in passages where the bassetto  is supplied by the violins, which are printed above the voices. The introduction and critical notes are only given in German. The score retails at €28.50, with a vocal score and parts also available.

Schultze: Konzert B-Dur für Altblockflöte, Streicher und Basso continuo
Herausgegeben von Klaus Hofmann
Walhall EW 986
5 + 40pp

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he editor of this three movement work has tried – thusfar in vain – to identify the composer; giving him the christian names Johann Christian is apparently an educated guess. Be that as it may, this high baroque concerto with a first movement full of arpeggios and scales, a central adagio in which the strings accompany pizzicato until the final sudden dramatic tutti and a bi-partite triple time finale that adds wide leaps to the technical demands made of the soloist is certainly one that players will welcome. €21.80 for the score, with parts and a keyboard reduction also available.

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ext in the pile were three editions of arias for voice, soprano recorder, strings and continuo. The earliest is Pepusch’s “Chirping warblers” (EW 980, mezzo, recorder, violin, violin/viola and continuo, 3 + 10pp, €17.50) which was part of a 1715 masque, Venus and Adonis. The original performances involved multiple violinists but editor Peter Thalheimer suggests that one can play the upper string part and another Pepusch’s viola line (which he prints in treble clef). At 49 bars in length, it is not a huge piece, but singers and recorder players alike will enjoy this addition to their repertoire. The set includes a second score without a cover and the necessary parts.

“Quell’ esser misero” by Alessandro Scarlatti (EW 978, soprano, recorder, violin and continuo, 4 + 7pp, €16) is from his 1698 opera, “Il prigioniero fortunato”. A through-composed work of a little over 50 bars (if the vide  mark is ignored!), the voice part intertwines with recorder and violin (who overlap but never play together), and the final instrumental phrase ignores the wind instrument and adds a second violin and viola. Thalheimer includes parts for all of the instruments and a second score without cover.

The third is “Cares when they’re over” from Francesco Bartolomeo Conti’s opera “Clotilda” (EW 999, soprano, soprano recorder or violin, strings and continuo, 4 + 10pp, €16.50). This is a full-blooded Da Capo aria with recorder and full string section. Once again the set includes everything required for a performance. The recorder part is quite demanding, while the voice is more charming and graceful, which is always an enjoyable contrast in concert.

Vandini: Konzert D-Dur für Violoncello Solo, 2 Violinen, Viola & B. c.
Herausgegeben von Markus Möllenbeck
Walhall EW 967
8 + 15pp, €16.50

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s a colleague and close friend of both Vivaldi and Tartini, it will come as no surprise to discover that this three movement concerto poses considerable challenges to anyone who wishes to play it – double stopping, very high and intricate passagework, extended string crossing motifs. The central andantino is slightly odd in featuring a rather bland solo violin part above the solo cello and continuo; the editor suggests this was undoubtedly for Tartini, but I fear even he would have had his work cut out to make it interesting; of course, the solo cellist has a much easier job, given that (s)he starts on the first beat and ends on the last with no breaks in between. It would be interesting to hear the work, if only to see if it works aurally in which it does not visually.

Brian Clark