- Composer: Arcangelo Corelli
- Audio CD (Feb. 26 2016)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Passacaille
- ASIN: B018SIQWOI
- In-Print Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #126,544 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Arcangelo Corelli: Violin Sonatas, Vol. 2
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Known for establishing the preeminence of the violin, Italian composer Arcangelo Corelli’s violin sonatas op. 5 were huge successes in the 18th century. Critics distinguished the first volume of these sonatas as a new reference recording. Here with the second volume, the complete recording of these baroque solo sonatas is finished. Enrico Onofri is a well known violinist who specializes in baroque music. Alongside his Imaginarium Ensemble, Onofri takes us on an exhilarating musical journey through these sonatas.
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All three recordings are very fine indeed, and it's a hard job to separate them - but also a great pleasure to make the attempt. This Onofri recording, coming on two separately available discs, differs from the others in arranging the twelve works at variance with their published order. So on the first disc we get nos. 1, 7, 3, 9, 5 and 10; and the rest on the second disc. This has the agreeable consequence that we don't have six 'sonate da chiesa' in a row, but rather the added variety of alternation between the two formats. Personally, I have a slight preference for the 'da chiesa' type anyway, but other listeners will not necessarily share that view.
The main point is, though, that these are fabulous performances. Onofri's playing is fiery, virtuosic, spontaneous. The recording balance gives the violin soloist a distinct forward prominence, and this is all to the good since his approach is so imaginative, his playing so spirited, engaging and bursting with character. Evidently I'm running out of adjectives here, but it's simply because this really is an outstanding interpretation. Onofri's continuo colleagues of the Imaginarium Ensemble, with varying combinations of cello, guitar, archlute, and harpsichord or organ, provide excellent support. With the pitch quite low, at 390 Hz, it all adds up to a richly satisfying sound picture, beautifully captured by the vivid recording.
Appropriately, volume 2 culminates in an intense, moody rendition of 'La Follia'. Another oddity is that the first track of the first volume is occupied by the violinist reading out Corelli's brief title-page dedication to Princess Sofia Carlotta – a nice touch, even if your Italian's not up to much. Onofri's own booklet notes mainly concern his choices and approaches to the music, rather than information about the works themselves or their background.
Altogether, this is the most characterful, inventive and persuasive of the recordings I've heard, and I have no hesitation in choosing it as my favourite – even from among several worthy contenders. At the time of writing the two separate volumes - characterised by two different white sculptures against a black background on the covers - are readily available at normal prices from French, German and US Amazon sites; so there's absolutely no need to pay over the odds for this fabulous set.