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Castello, Pichi and Vivaldi - Early Venetian Music from Hyperionsag

Canzon No.19 a 8. Canzon No.15 a 6. Canzon No.17 a 8. Toccata. Ballo Ungaro. Padoana ditta la Ongara. Canzon No.18 a 8. Canzon No.14 a 6 (Picchi). Sonata No.14 a 4. Sonata No.10 a 3. Sonata No.11 a 3. Sonata No.5 a 2. Sonata No.8 a 2. Sonata No.17 in ecco. Sonata No.13 a 4 (Castello)

His Majestys Sagbutts And Cornetts
(David Staff, Jeremy West, Adrian Woodward, cornets - Susan Addison, Patrick Jackman, Tom Lees, Abigail Newman, Stephen Saunders, Adam Woolf, sacqueboutes - Pavlo Besnosiuk, Julia Bishop, violons - William Lyons, dulciane - Paula Chateauneuf, chitarrone - Frances Kelly, double harpe - Timothy Roberts, Richard Egarr harpsichord, orgues)

Hyperion Helios CDH55320


These two releases epitomise different approaches to recording Early Music. Both are supported with learned commentaries from experts, and are good studio recordings, but that is the only similarity.

The programme of Monteverdi contemporaries was assembled with every possible thought to entertainment and it makes for joyous listening.

Both composers Dario Castello & Giovanni Picchi prove to be well worth remembering, and the range of pieces and their instrumentation holds the attention unswervingly.

The level of expertise on all these instruments is staggering, and they blend perfectly in a range of combinations. The continuo players also get chances to solo, those making for quieter interludes, perfectly in scale sonically.

This disc is a hgh recommendation; with the Helios sun shining from the top left corner it is a bargain not to be missed.

Cello Sonata in B flat major RV47. Cello Sonata in A minor RV44. Cello Sonata in B flat major RV45. Cello Sonata in E flat major RV39. Cello Sonata in G minor RV42. Cello Sonata in E minor RV40. Cello Sonata in F major RV41. Cello Sonata in B flat major RV46. Cello Sonata in A minor RV43
Hyperion Dyad CDD22065 (two for the price of one)

It is not possible to enthuse equally about Vivaldi's Complete Cello Sonatas, nine of them played by David Watkin, with continuo support by Helen Gough, cello and a welcome attempt to give a little variety with alternation of plucked instruments (David Miller) and harpsichord/chamber organ (Robert King).

An earlier review of its original release quotes it as ranking "honourably amongst the best available" and Michael Talbot's learned notes discuss "the coevality of the nine extant sonatas" etc...

Listen to one or two at a time. But this is really one for Vivaldi completists and cellists.

Peter Grahame woolf