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The Avison Ensemble - Corelli: Opus 2 & 4: Chamber Sonatas - All Music Guide


09 September 2013
All Music Guide
James Manheim

The ongoing recordings of Arcangelo Corelli's music by the Avison Ensemble and Ukrainian-British violinist-leader, Pavlo Beznosiuk, all have something to recommend them. With this double-disc set the group covers Corelli's two published sets of 'chamber sonatas,' a direct translation of the Italian sonate da camera. The term denoted a suite-like structure of multiple short dances or other binary movements rather than a specific set of forces. Corelli himself published them as 'sonate a tre,' or sonatas for three instruments. The booklet notes by Simon D.I. Fleming here go to great lengths to justify performance with four instruments, as doubtless occurred often in the 18th century. What you get here, however, is something else: performance with five instruments, the violins of Beznosiuk and Caroline Balding, plus cello, archlute, and harpsichord or organ. This is a very big and active continuo group, and its presence is further heightened by the improvisatory fills of all the players, especially cellist Richard Tunnicliffe. This is not right or wrong, although it seems a bit daring in music specifically designated as being for three instruments...the virtues of the Avison group are once again on full display here; the players achieve a sparkling liveliness in the fast movements that few other groups seem to manage with period strings...You may want to give this a try even if you prefer a more minimal continuo style; it's beautifully done, and who knows, Beznosiuk could turn out to be right.
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Pavlo BeznosiukPavlo Beznosiuk
Richard TunnicliffeRichard Tunnicliffe
The Avison EnsembleThe Avison Ensemble
Corelli: Opus 2 & 4: Chamber SonatasCorelli: Opus 2 & 4: Chamber Sonatas