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Stylus Phantasticus
in 17.C North German Instrumental Music

Buxtehude: Sonaten C-Dur BuxWV 266 & B-Dur BuxWV 255
Schop: Sine titulo d-moll
Strungk: Sonata d-moll
Baltzar: Präludium G-Dur
Weckmann: Canzon d-moll
Reincken: Partita a-moll
Vierdanck: Sonata d-moll
Becker: Sonata D-Dur
Sidon: Sonata G-Dur
Förster: Sonata "La Sidon" d-moll

Bell'Arte Salzburg

Annegret Siedel · Baroque violin
Ulrike Titze · Baroque violin
Matthias Müller Viola da gamba
Zvi Meniker Cembalo · harpsichord
Margit Schultheiss · organ
Berlin Classics 0016572BC
[68 mins; recorded June 2009]

Stylus Phantasticus combines extravagantly freely flowing expressive melodies with garish dissonances which can instil Baroque forms with extreme tension, opening up fascinating worlds of sound that one would hardly expect in the North German Baroque. This ensemble exemplifies these ideals in little known works, many of them by little known composers of the 17.C, ringing the changes with two violins, gamba, harpsichord and chamber organ.

The group are consummaate period stylists and the sequencing makes this disc a delight to listen to straight through. It is in every way a great CD, and you can hear samples at http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/Stylus-Phantasticus/hnum/1104587

But I urge you not to purchase by downloading; this is a great production as a physical object, a reminder of the great days of LPs. The illustrations, some of them collages, are lavish and extravagant as the music - there are discreet witticisms; pictures which slip across to the backs of the pages (I found a photo of lead violinist Annegret Siedel enjoying the recordng process !). The artwork of Antje Warnecke deserves particular commendation. The black-on-white texts are comprehensive about unknown composers and their works and easy to read.

Details of the instruments are given and, with everything you'd want to know, this disc is the answer to our gripes about so many which are cobbled together thoughtlessly - q.v. InsertBooklets.

Warmest recommendation, a baroque CD not to miss.

Peter Grahame Woolf