Historically informed performances of poised and inventive keyboard music from the Golden Age of the Venetian Baroque.
The epitome of a Renaissance man, Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739) won success and acclaim as a poet, writer, musician, lawyer, judge, administrator and philologist. Though his keyboard sonatas have appeared on several recorded collections of the Italian Baroque, they have rarely been presented in a comprehensive manner. In doing so, this album celebrates the personal even idiosyncratic style of a composer whose technical accomplishment facilitates rather than stifling his creative voice.
The 12 Sonatas were later published as Op.3. They date from early in Marcello’s career, and are mostly cast in three andfour brief movements, though the first and last of them, in D minor and C minor respectively, feature more extended forms. The minor-key sonatas are generally more dramatic and varied in mood; two complementary performances of the G minor Sonata afford the opportunity to compare the tone-colours of the different instruments used on the recording.
There are several sonatas not belonging to the Op.3 collection which are less often heard, and their inclusion here is valuable, alongside Marcello’s magnificent chaconne, subtitled ‘La stravaganza’: a 15-minute tour-de-force of keyboard invention.
The album is enhanced by a vivid account of Marcello’s music, life and career, written by the harpsichordist Laura Farabollini. On this recording she plays a modern Italian copy of a late-18th century French instrument by Taskin, with two manuals and four registers. Chiara Minali plays an organ built by Gio’ Batta Sona in 1812, in the Cornu Evangelii choir of the parish church of San Pietro in Cattedra at Valeggio sul Mincio near Verona.
From an early age Benedetto Marcello (Venice 1686 - Brescia 1739) proved to be a man of great versatility: a poet, writer, musician, lawyer, judge, administrator and philologist, holding important posts in these functions during his entire life. As a composer he wrote a substantial oeuvre, covering all important fields of composition: sacred and secular choral works, opera and a large body of instrumental music.
This 3CD set presents Marcello’s complete works for keyboard, both harpsichord and organ: the 12 Sonatas for harpsichord and a variety of works specifically written for organ. The Sonatas are in 3 or 4 movements, the slow movements showing an elegant lyricism, while the fast movements brim with vivacious energy.
Played by two expert Italian musicians: organist Chiara Minali on an 1812 Gio’ Batta Sona organ, and Laura Farabollini, who already recorded to great critical acclaim the complete keyboard works by Zipoli for Brilliant Classics.