Furor musicus (Antoinette Lohmann violin, Jörn Boysen harpsichord, Maria Sanchez Ramirez cello)
These two discs of music for solo violin (often mistuned) and continue are some of the positive fruits of the Corona 19 pandemic. From two quite different manuscript collections (one a family affair, the Di Martinelli Collection, which has survived since the 18th century and now resides in the library of the University of Leuven/Louvain, the other the celebrated Prince-Bishops’ music collection at Kroměříž), violinist Antoinette Lohmann has select four sonatas by Sigr. Goor (your guess is as good as mine!), and four anonymous Allemandes and a Balletto for one celebration and two sonatas by known composers (Döbel and Schmelzer) and five further pieces of unknown provenance for the other.
Scordatura (re-tuning the strings) does strange things to the timbre of the violin, especially in the more extreme examples. The instrument becomes more resonant, and the sound a little otherworldly, the gut strings eerily metallic. It’s an acquired taste and I’m not going to pretend that two whole CDs of it wasn’t a challenge. That said, much of the music is recorded here – in very fine performances – for the first time and that in itself is reason enough to acquire this set if 17th-century violin music is your thing.