Ricordo - Virtuoso in the Making: Biber - Early Music Review

Ricordo is an impressive group of four youngish but well-established players. (Katie Debrezeni vln, Alison McGillivray gamba/violone, Matthew Wadsworth theorbo, lute and Rob Howarth kbd) here augmented by Penelope Spencer vln and Adam Woolf trombone. The disc contains seven pieces by Biber and one by Schmelzer, all from MS sources and relating to the young Biber. The Pastorales by Schmelzer and Biber offer an intriguing 'compare and contrast' exercise, and there may be some doubt whether the sonata for two violins and trombone is by Biber or Bertali, who may have been his teacher. The lutenist surprisingly has a solo spot, an arrangement by Ferdinand Fischer of a Passacaglia related to Sonata 6 of the 1681 set. Some of the music is a bit sprawling, so this is a disc for the sympathetic Biber-lover rather than strangers to his music. This is a disc that all biber enthusiasts will require and an impressive debut for the ensemble. As a bonus, the scores are included on the disc as PDF files; they would cost more to buy than the price of the CD, so it is good value.

01 December 2002