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Pandolfi

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Dec. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Carpe Diem
  • ASIN: B0040Y7EPQ
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 871,857 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Le Concert Brisé - William Dongois, direction

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By Stephen Midgley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Jan. 2012
Format: Audio CD
The title of this CD, 'style fantastique' or 'stylus fantasticus', refers to the development of the renewed improvisatory style which grew, initially in Italy, out of the transition from renaissance to baroque. The disc actually consists mainly of the six 'Sonate a violino solo per chiesa e camera', op. 3 (1660) by Giovanni Pandolfi-Mealli, his surname usually listed simply as Pandolfi in the catalogues. Here, however, these sonatas are used as a brilliant vehicle for illustrating the art of baroque improvisation and embellishment - and, what is more, with the lead instrumental part being played on the cornetto of William Dongois.

I've already mentioned the word 'brilliant', but it's hard to avoid using it again to describe the astonishing music-making on this recording. For Prof. Dongois is an absolute wizard on the cornetto, and he is most ably supported here by his fellow musicians of the ensemble Le Concert Brisé on harpsichord, organ, and lute or theorbo. The Pandolfi sonatas, built typically around a substantial inner movement on an ostinato bass, not only are spirited and engaging music in themselves, but also provide marvellous opportunities for the inspired embellishments of these musicians. Among many delights, my personal favourite is probably the Sonata La Sabbatina (track 7 of the present disc). Further variety comes in the form of three keyboard works by Froberger, an exemplary master of the art of written composition originating from improvisation.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x927107f8) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90f0ca74) out of 5 stars Titanium Chops! 29 Jan. 2012
By Gio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Mr. Midgley has already reviewed the total CD, so let me merely discuss the cornetto as an instrument and William Dongois as a cornettist. The notes that accompany this CD are stylish enough but not fantastically informative, so some of what I write will be guesswork.

At the beginning of the 17th C, the Italian cornetto ruled supreme throughout Europe as an instrument of virtuosity in ensemble music. Its only rival was the violin, and in both France and Germany the violin was regarded with suspicion, as an instrument suitable only for dance accompaniment. In Italy, cornetto and violin often squared off on stage and tossed impossibly acrobatic passages of virtuosity back and forth. By the end of the 17th C, the cornetto was in free fall toward oblivion. Why? Well, it's a fiendishly difficult instrument to play well, it ran into developing competition in orchestral music from the evolving oboe and later the chalumeau/clarinet. The latter is an instrument of even greater range and finger-fluidity than the cornetto. But there was, and is, an inescapable problem for the cornettist; chop fatigue! One simply can't keep playing fiery passagi on a cornetto, without an extended break, for hours and hours as one can on a violin. I seen very capable cornettists fade -- their lips benumbed and their tone imploding -- towards the end of concert half as long as the one recorded here. It's declared to be a "live performance" in the spotty notes, and what I hear makes me credit that assertion. It has the verve of live music. Besides, I know this repertoire; I'm the wise guy in the audience who can notice the two or three dropped notes, and grin to myself knowingly. I can also aver that this is a superhuman effort, not just virtuosity but a marathon of virtuosity.

Curse those feeble notes! The first page thereof show Mr. Dongois playing a cornetto, but the cornetto isn't the curved black-leather-covered Venetian cornetto most people have seen in the hands of Doron Sherwin or Bruce Dickey. It's a "gerade Zink", a straight cornetto made of uncovered wood with a detachable ivory mouthpiece. That's the sort of cornetto which was favored in Germany and which outlasted the vogue of the Italian cornetto scaled in G. The straight Zink was usually scaled in C (with its lowest note a D). It sounds more trumpet-like than the Italian cornetto and much more trumpet-like than the "mute cornetto", which was also straight. I'm not 100% certain that this whole concert was played on such an instrument, but it sounds possible.

The use of the lute and organ for continuo under the cornetto is positively gorgeous; the luet outlines the bass more 'vocally' than any harpsichord could do, and the organ pairs with the cornetto in timbre so well that at times one might confuse the two lines with each other. Performing Froberger as solo lute music is also a stroke of genius. Forgive me, harpsichordists, if I say that Eric Bellocq makes Froberger's 'keyboard' fantasy more fantastic on his archlute or theorbo than any harpsichordist ever has.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90ea900c) out of 5 stars Fantastic cornetto 15 Jan. 2012
By Stephen Midgley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The title of this CD, 'style fantastique' or 'stylus fantasticus', refers to the development of the renewed improvisatory style which grew, initially in Italy, out of the transition from renaissance to baroque. The disc actually consists mainly of the six 'Sonate a violino solo per chiesa e camera', op. 3 (1660) by Giovanni Pandolfi-Mealli, his surname usually listed simply as Pandolfi in the catalogues. Here, however, these sonatas are used as a brilliant vehicle for illustrating the art of baroque improvisation and embellishment - and, what is more, with the lead instrumental part being played on the cornetto of William Dongois.

I've already mentioned the word 'brilliant', but it's hard to avoid using it again to describe the astonishing music-making on this recording. For Prof. Dongois is an absolute wizard on the cornetto, and he is most ably supported here by his fellow musicians of the ensemble Le Concert Brisé on harpsichord, organ, and lute or theorbo. The Pandolfi sonatas, built typically around a substantial inner movement on an ostinato bass, not only are spirited and engaging music in themselves, but also provide marvellous opportunities for the inspired embellishments of these musicians. Among many delights, my personal favourite is probably the Sonata La Sabbatina (track 7 of the present disc). Further variety comes in the form of three keyboard works by Froberger, an exemplary master of the art of written composition originating from improvisation. Two of these works, a lamentation on the death of Emperor Ferdinand III and a Toccata in F, are played by Carsten Lohff on a superb original Ruckers harpsichord, recently restored by the Paris studio of Reinhard von Nagel; and the third, the very fine Suite in D minor, is transcribed and played beautifully on the lute by Éric Bellocq.

The outstanding musical and technical excellence of these performers is, if anything, all the more impressive considering that the recording was made live at a series of concerts at Neuchâtel in Switzerland. If you haven't yet got around to reading about this in the booklet, you only realise it when you hear the applause after the final item. But much more important than that is the feeling of spontaneity and of the adventurous spirit of baroque music-making on this disc - a feature I've noted and enjoyed in other recordings from this ensemble (such as Buxtehude Cantatas & Sonatas; La Suave Melodia, both on the Accent label) whether or not they were recorded live.

The booklet notes are thoughtful and enthusiastic, although I could have done with a bit more information about Pandolfi-Mealli and his works. There are also attractive and atmospheric photos, presumably taken at the recording location on the shores of the Lac de Neuchâtel, with due prominence given to musicians and seagulls. In addition to all the qualities I've mentioned, and especially for lovers of historic wind instruments, this disc offers us a wonderful demonstration not only of the 'stylus fantasticus' of baroque improvisation technique but also - in case we don't already know - of the sweet-toned clarity and expressive capabilities of the cornetto. Altogether, then, this is a terrific and highly distinctive recording and a real treat for fans of baroque instrumental music.
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