VIVALDI Sonatas for Violin and Continuo
Vivaldi’s Op 5 consists of six sonatas: four for solo violin, followed by two trio sonatas, the latter a well-established genre which the composer had already explored in his Op 2 of 1709. As the title-page of the Op 5 Sonatas makes clear, its contents were intended as a continuation of the earlier collection. All are in three or four movements, the majority of which are cast in familiar dance forms which characteristically fall into two halves. Written in the lively Italian manner, with plenty of technical acrobatics at fast speeds, this is not the elegiac music of reflection or melancholy – there are no dark moments.
Baltic Baroque rise to the challenge with a sequence of energetic performances that are alive to the infectious foot-tapping appeal of Vivaldi’s rhythms. The string tone is bright and the sense of ensemble effortless. Since the sonatas were recorded at different times and places, two different harpsichords were used: one Flemish, the other French; similarly, except for the cellist who plays on all the tracks, the string players, all of whom are equipped with period instruments, share the work between them. It is interesting to speculate whether, in an increasingly globalised world, there is a common international style for this kind of instrumental music. In practice, Baltic Baroque bring together the qualities of Teutonic precision and Italian verve in a thoroughly convincing and attractive way.