Armoniosa celebrated its dazzling debut with a complete recording of Vivaldi’s La Stravaganza. On their latest production the young Italians focus on a core ensemble effort. The title may read “Trio Sonata,” but a spectacular surprise soon unfolds: contrary to all convention, Giovanni Benedetto Platti scored the part of the second solo instrument in his sonatas for the cello instead of a second violin – thereby providing for an extraordinary and fresh listening experience.
The very beginning of the Sonata in G minor takes us into a fascinating world, first with dark tones of the two cellos and the organ and then with immediate brightening from the violin and harpsichord, which join in after a few measures. Armoniosa as a rule attaches great importance to the instrumentation: the continuo instruments change many times: sometimes all of them play together, and other times only the harpsichord accompanies the cello – or only the organ. The Sonata in C minor completely dispenses with a chordal instrument – which endows this piece with its very uncommon appeal.
The harpsichordist Michele Barchi built the two keyboard instruments especially to meet Armoniosa’s needs. One genuine plus: the organ is supplied with the requisite air merely by a reservoir operated by a pedal, which means that the distracting drone of the motor casting its musical fog over most other recordings of Baroque music is eliminated. In the pure clarity now realizable, the organ sound also displays a new vibrancy proper solely to instruments supplied with wind by mechanical means.
The high-resolution recording on this SACD enables the listener to grasp all the tonal details; the music seems to be within hand’s reach, especially in the recommended three-dimensional reproduction of the 2+2+2 recording. The man who commissioned these works, Count Schönborn-Wiesentheid, the brother of two Würzburg archbishops, was a cellist in his own right and surely would have enjoyed this disc.