In certain respects, Giovanni Stefano Carbonelli does not quite fit the 18th-century mold. For a neo-Corellian, he is unusually fond of complexity, both technical and compositional, and also unusually open to other contemporary influences, such as those of Handel and Vivaldi. But the quality of his music speaks for itself - virtuosic and joyously melodic, these six ''chamber sonatas'' had a huge impact on Delphian producer Paul Baxter. Carbonelli's difficulty has ensured that his work is seldom played, but early-music rising star Bojan Cicic makes sure we have no sense of that as he and his Illyria Consort colleagues champion these groundbreaking compositions with exuberant confidence. Bojan Cicic is leader of Floreligium and frequentlyRead more guest directs the Academy of Ancient Music and European Union Baroque Orchestra. He founded the Illyria Consort to explore rare repertoire of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Hats off then to Cicic and his Illyria Consort for choosing the first six of Carbonelli’s sonatas for their debut recording, because not only is half their program’s music previously unrecorded, but it’s all genuinely wonderful stuff.
Perhaps the most structurally striking elements of the sonatas are the fugal movements at the center point of each; Cicic's easy, fluid perfection through their webs of double-stopped complexities merits mentioning. Likewise the way he smoothly brings off Carbonelli’s occasional ferociously unidiomatic modulations. Add tonal color spanning the gamut from satisfyingly wiry to full and sweet, and it’s a full house of deliciousness. Bravos to all involved.