Sonatas for Violin and Basso C
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Charles Avison was long neglected, but is now being recognised as one of the most brilliant and accomplished English composers of the 18th century. These 12 Concerti are based on Geminiani's opus 1 violin sonatas,are played on period instruments and are recorded here for the first time, by the group which has itself made a reputation as one of the finest instrumental ensembles in Europe.- The first of our series of major Avison releases.
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This work sheds true light on two aspects of the art and life of Avison – firstly that Avison was the foremost and most brilliant English composer of Concerti Grossi; and secondly his great admiration for Geminiani, who hailed from Lucca but who spent most of his working life in London and Dublin and considered Avison his friend. The combination of Avison and Geminiani is crucial in understanding the fundamental influence of Italian instrumental music has on the British attitude to the orchestral repertoire (considering that at the time it was opera which was all the rage in Britain, thanks to Handel, Bononcini and Ariosti). Taking a cue from the skillful writing of the Lucchesi composer, Charles Avison was able to draw from the chamber sonatas a palette of orchestral colors which are among the brightest ever created in the baroque period.
We must not forget that the discovery of the manuscripts of these works occurred only about fifteen years ago - between 2000 and 2002 - amongst all of Avison’s workbooks, which amount to over six hundred sheets of manuscript. In fact the scores of only eleven of the Concerti were found, that of number eleven being lost, so for the purpose of this recording Concerto 11 has been arranged by the Avison Ensemble’s director and concertmaster Pavlo Beznosiuk. The result is that this recording is truly a reference point for the consideration of these works. It is well seen that the Avison Ensemble are considered a team of absolute excellence when it comes to the works of their namesake. So: the brilliance, the fluent phrasing and tempi; the attention to tone and structure, delivered with creativity and grace, and a generous set of program notes, make this an ideal benchmark recording of these Concerti Grossi. Andrea Bedetti, Music Voice Italy (translation by Stephen Sutton)