If Michel Corrette was a little over-enthusiastic in crediting Corelli with the invention of both sonata and concerto form as it was known and understood in the mid-eighteenth century, Roger North had only to judge by the enormous popularity of the Italian master's works in England in the 1720s to deduce that they would be immortal… Monica Huggett…brings a sweetness of tone and a perfection of technical control that cannot but inspire admiration on their own count, but in combination with such unerring musical insight as is to be found here makes these into quite masterly interpretations… The continuo members of Trio Sonnerie are unerringly tasteful in their playing, while Nigel North on theorbo and other plucked instruments is quite stunningly imaginative. North's choice of the baroque guitar and his playing of it in Corelli's Follia Variations is quite inspired.(Tess Knighton)
Corelli's Op. 5 Violin Sonatas have always been admired by chamber music fans; there are a couple of good recordings of them already available. But this new one by Baroque specialist and virtuoso Andrew Manze and harpsichordist Richard Egarr presents the sonatas in such a bright, exciting, and improvisatory light that they seem brand new. During the composer's lifetime, these sonatas were widely played and tremendously influential; there's a good chance that it was assumed that virtuosi took what was written on the page as a starting point for embellishing and sheer showing off.
Mitzi Meyerson likes to come up with surprising musical finds or rediscoveries and her latest, the Opera Prima of Giovanni Battista Somis, is as fascinating as her recordings devoted to Richard Jones and Gottlieb Muffat. Indeed, the harpsichordist chanced upon the score for this set of Baroque violin sonatas – first published in 1717 – when investigating the music of Richard Jones in the British Library, finding thereby another trove of forgotten Baroque gems. Somis worked for the Dukes of Savoy, initially in Turin, in the early 18th century, but studied with Corelli in Rome, later befriended Vivaldi, and himself taught many subsequent prominent violinists, including Jean-Marie Leclair.