Vandini: Sonate per violoncello e continuo

Bologna Baroque (Antonio Mostacci violoncello piccolo a 5 corde, Antonello Manzo violoncello, Paolo Potì clavicembalo)
Tactus TC 692202

If – like me – you had never heard of Vandini, please do not feel ashamed; although he was one of the leading cellists of his day (as these six sonatas amply prove) and a close friend and colleague of Tartini (to the extent of the latter living with him after the loss of his wife until his own death in 1770), he remains something of a footnote in musical history books. Which is common territory for Tactus, of course – their valiant crusade to rescue the music of their countrymen and women goes on apace, and this is certainly one of their true successes. Bologna Baroque give excellent performances of five three-movement sonatas and a solitary two-movement work. They were not intended as a set and only one of them seems to be dated (1717, so the composer would have been in his mid 20s); only one is in a minor key. They are all, however, lyrical and technically demanding in equal measure. I listened to the performances initially not realising that Mostacci used a violoncello piccolo and was very impressed by the playing in high registers; the additional top string in no way undermines his achievements, though! The continuo accompaniment is just that, and (in my humble opinion!) just as it should be; I’m growing ever wearier of harpsichordists who go out of their way to draw attention to themselves rather than to enhance the music the composer wrote. But I refuse to end on a negative note – well done, Bologna Baroque! Well done, Tactus!

Brian Clark

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