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Violino O Cornetto / Theresa Caudle, Canzona


Release Date: 02/08/2011 
Label:  Nimbus   Catalog #: 6134   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giovanni Paolo CimaGirolamo FrescobaldiGiovanni FontanaDario Castello,   ... 
Performer:  Alastair RossTheresa CaudleDavid MillerMark Caudle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



VIOLINO O CORNETTO: 17TH-CENTURY ITALIAN SOLO SONATAS Theresa Caudle (vn, cornett); dir; Canzona (period instruments) NIMBUS ALLIANCE 6134 (73:34)


CIMA Sonata per violino or cornetto e basso. Violin Sonata. FRESCOBALDI Canzona terza, “La Lucchesina.” Canzona seconda, “La Bernadina.” FONTANA Sonata prima. CASTELLO Read more class="ARIAL12b"> Sonata seconda a soprano solo. MARINI Sonata per sonar con due corde. Sonata e basso e violino o cornetto. UCCELLINI Sonata Quinta. CAZZATI Sonata Prima, “La Pellicana.” STRADELLA Sinfonias: in F; in d. CORELLI Violin Sonata in g, op. 5/5


As the booklet notes by Theresa Caudle and Peter Leech explain in 19 pages of fine detail, Theresa Caudle and Canzona (including Mark Caudle playing bass violin and cello, Alastair Ross playing organ and harpsichord, and David Miller playing chitarrone) provide a 17th-century snapshot of the violin just as it peered out from behind the formerly predominant cornett. Often, the ensemble pairs sonatas, as at the beginning, with the cornett taking the lead in the first of Giovanni Paolo Cima’s sonatas and the violin in the second. In such instances, it’s easy to hear why the titles of the pieces often gave performers a choice (“violino o cornetto”). In fact, though, listening to the two instruments seratim like this strongly suggests the question of why some early period instrumentalists characterized the violin as a pinched, abrasive poor relation of its modern descendent. Theresa Caudle, who plays both cornett and violin on the recording, brings some of the commanding nobility of the cornett in the first Cima sonata to her playing of the second one on violin, although her violin (made by Paul Denley in the style of Giovanni Paolo Maggini) still sounds very reedy compared to her rounded tone on the cornett. Some of the power of the two performances derives from Mark Caudle’s strong-minded characterization of the bass line on bass violin.


The next set pairs two canzonas by Girolamo Frescobaldi from his first book in 1628 of pieces by that title. Theresa Caudle plays the first of these, “La Lucchesina,” on cornett, accompanied by organ and chitarrone, and the second, “La Bernadina,” on violin supported only by harpsichord. Next come two sonatas, this time written by two different composers: the first by Giovanni Battista Fontana (Sonata Prima, 1641), played on cornett, and the second by Dario Castello, performed on violin and organ ( Sonata seconda a soprano solo , 1629). Caudle brings a heady virtuosic sense to Fontana’s work, evidenced in the occasional run, but also a dignified sensitivity, and she engages in intelligent dialogue with David Miller. Although Castello’s sonata doesn’t specify the violin in its title, Caudle’s performance on that instrument makes it seem as though the string instrument has an edge due in part to the sprightliness of her passagework.


The next pair of works begins with violin rather than cornett: Biagio Marini’s Sonata per sonar con due corde from 1626. This sonata, lasting almost nine minutes, represents an early employment of double-stops, a technique that sets the violin apart technically from its wind alternate. Caudle plays it with harpsichord only; the violin’s relative acrobatics perhaps require less support. The second sonata by Marini, from 1655, sounds more solemn, not only in presentation on cornett but also in its musical manner.


Although his Sonata Quinta (1649) may not seem altogether idiomatic to the violin, Marco Uccellini often figured in textbooks on music history (or the history of the violin) for his employment of the instrument’s upper ranges. Arcangelo Corelli, who followed, reined in some of Uccellini’s technical imagination; those who, beginning with Corelli, missed Uccellini and the Germans (Heinrich Franz von Biber, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer, and Johann Jakob Walther) have perhaps taken Corelli as a technical consolidator rather than as a technical reactionary. Caudle pairs Uccellini’s work, in a way, with Maurizio Cazzati’s Sonata Prima, “La Pellicana” (1670). This sonata, with its Christological reference, according to the notes, could have been intended for performance at Mass on Corpus Christi. The ensemble contrasts these works, so different in their effect, by giving Uccellini’s on violin and harpsichord and Cazzati’s on the sonorous combination of violin, bass violin, and organ.


The rest of the program, performed on violin, contains two sinfonias (in F Major and D Minor, the first accompanied only by harpsichord and the second by violin and organ) by Alessandro Stradella. In the first, Caudle plays the rapid movement with a buoyancy that wouldn’t seem to have been possible on the cornett. But in the sterner second, the greater weight of the first movement and the succeeding lively fuguelike interchanges in which the two Caudles engage still might have been possible, at least musically, if not technically, on the cornett. In the fifth sonata from Corelli’s influential op. 5, performers and listeners pass through the gates into fully idiomatic writing for the violin (though it might have been interesting to hear one of Corelli’s aristocratic slow movements on cornett as a basis for comparison).


Most violinists and aficionados of the violin literature really shouldn’t miss the opportunity Theresa Caudle and Canzona have provided to witness the violin come of age (and engage in a sort of expressive contest—perhaps to the death—with its precursor). As the recital makes clear, the outcome in the earliest works may not have been entirely certain, but by the time of Corelli’s sonatas, a victor had clearly emerged, at least for the music of that time. With its interesting and informative notes, its vivid recorded sound, its compelling performances, its embarrassment of textural riches, and its captivating premise, the recital deserves a place in every violin collection—at least.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham


------------------

The title of this disc refers to the two most celebrated instruments in Italy in the 17th century. The cornett was frequently used in the 16th century, mostly playing colla voce in sacred music. It was also used as an ensemble instrument, in particular in combination with sackbuts, for instance in the canzonas of Giovanni Gabrieli. Around 1600 it was given a solo role, first in diminutions on vocal items, then in more virtuosic canzonas and sonatas.
 
The violin was also used by Gabrieli in his instrumental works. But in his time it wasn't used as a solo instrument. It was only in the first decades of the 17th century that composers started to write more virtuosic pieces for solo instruments. The title of this disc sheds light on a widespread practice, that pieces were scored for either cornett or violin. For a long time they were interchangeable, and they were considered to be on equal footing in regard to their expressive capabilities.
 
The programme on this disc shows that gradually the violin overshadowed the cornett. It is telling that most composers represented on this disc were violinists by profession. With the progression of time more and more pieces were written which were so idiomatic for the violin that it became virtually impossible to perform them on the cornett. Biagio Marini, for instance, made use of double-stopping in his Sonata per sonar con due corde, and that excludes the use of the cornett.
 
In some pieces the treble part is predominant, for instance in the canzonas by Frescobaldi. But in others the bass part is of almost equal importance, for instance in the Sonata per violino e basso by Giovanni Paolo Cima. Not without reason the Sonata à basso e violino ò cornetto by Biagio Marini mentions the bass first in its title: the string bass - here a bass violin - begins the proceedings, and is joined later by the cornett. In the Sinfonia in d minor by Alessandro Stradella the violin and the cello are equal partners.
 
When in 1698 the cornett player of the San Marco in Venice died, he wasn't replaced, but an oboist was appointed instead. That marked the end of an era. But at that time the cornett had already lost its importance. Although in the second half of the 17th century composers still indicated that the treble part in some sonatas could be played on the cornett, its heyday had gone. Stradella's sonatas and certainly the chamber music of Arcangelo Corelli were specifically written for the violin. The cornett was no longer an option.
 
The repertoire on this disc not only bears witness to the impressive technical skills of violinists and cornettists, they also reflect some fashions of the time. Among them are echo effects - often used in operas and oratorios - and tremolos, for instance in the Sonata II a soprano solo by Castello. The Sonata I 'La Pellicana' by Maurizio Cazzati is an interesting piece. The opening section is dominated by wide leaps in the treble part, probably depicting the flapping of the pelican's wings.
 
Theresa Caudle studied both the cornett and the violin. In her personal notes in the booklet she writes: "I became known as a cornettist who also played the violin, but the emphasis gradually changed and for twenty-five years or so I considered myself a violinist who occasionally played the cornett." Could this change in direction be the explanation for the performances on the violin being generally more satisfying than those on the cornett? Her technical skills at the cornett are notable but she is too cautious and too restrained in the way she performs the cornett pieces. In his programme notes Peter Leech writes about the "fresh, extrovert, emotive characteristics" of Frescobaldi's canzonas. But in Theresa Caudle's performances those features are not fully revealed. Even in the violin pieces Ms Caudle's playing is more convincing in the later works than in the earlier compositions. Stradella and Corelli are beautifully done, but in Cima, Fontana and Castello the tempi are too moderate and the dynamic range too limited.
 
That said, I don't hesitate to welcome this disc. The programme is an interesting survey of the development in instrumental writing in 17th-century Italy and all the pieces are brilliant and absorbing in their very own way. I am sure that lovers of this kind of repertoire will enjoy this disc, even though a part of the programme is quite well-known and not all performances are totally satisfying.
 
The booklet includes a list of instruments used by the members of Canzona and the sources from which the various pieces are taken. The dates of the composers should have been given in the tracklist rather than in the liner-notes. The recording would have benefited from a little more space.
 
-- Johan van Veen, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonatas (6) "Concerti ecclesiastici": no 1 for Violin, Cello/Violone and Cornetto by Giovanni Paolo Cima
Performer:  Alastair Ross (Organ/Harpsichord), Theresa Caudle (Cornett/Violin), David Miller (Chitarrone),
Mark Caudle (Bass Violin/Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1610; Milan, Italy 
2.
Sonata per il Violino by Giovanni Paolo Cima
Performer:  Theresa Caudle (Cornett/Violin), Alastair Ross (Organ/Harpsichord), David Miller (Chitarrone),
Mark Caudle (Bass Violin/Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1610 
3.
Il primo libro delle canzoni: no 3, La Lucchesina in A minor by Girolamo Frescobaldi
Performer:  Alastair Ross (Organ/Harpsichord), Theresa Caudle (Cornett/Violin), David Miller (Chitarrone),
Mark Caudle (Bass Violin/Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1628; Italy 
4.
Il primo libro delle canzoni: no 2, La Bernardina in C major by Girolamo Frescobaldi
Performer:  Alastair Ross (Organ/Harpsichord), David Miller (Chitarrone), Theresa Caudle (Cornett/Violin),
Mark Caudle (Bass Violin/Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1628; Italy 
5.
Sonate per il violino, o altro istromento: Sonata no 1 by Giovanni Fontana
Performer:  Mark Caudle (Bass Violin/Cello), David Miller (Chitarrone), Theresa Caudle (Cornett/Violin),
Alastair Ross (Organ/Harpsichord)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1641; Italy 
6.
Sonata no 2 by Dario Castello
Performer:  Mark Caudle (Bass Violin/Cello), Alastair Ross (Organ/Harpsichord), David Miller (Chitarrone),
Theresa Caudle (Cornett/Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1629; Italy 
7.
Per ogni sorte di strumenti musicale, Op. 22: Sonata Basso e Violino by Biagio Marini
Performer:  Alastair Ross (Organ/Harpsichord), Theresa Caudle (Cornett/Violin), David Miller (Chitarrone),
Mark Caudle (Bass Violin/Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1655; Italy 
8.
Sonate, symphonie e retornelli, Op. 8: Sonata per sonar by Biagio Marini
Performer:  Alastair Ross (Organ/Harpsichord), Theresa Caudle (Cornett/Violin), David Miller (Chitarrone),
Mark Caudle (Bass Violin/Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Period: Baroque 
9.
Sonate, over canzoni, Op. 5: Sonata over toccata no 5 by Marco Uccellini
Performer:  Alastair Ross (Organ/Harpsichord), Theresa Caudle (Cornett/Violin), David Miller (Chitarrone),
Mark Caudle (Bass Violin/Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1649; Italy 
10.
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo, Op. 55: no 1, La Pellicana by Maurizio Cazzati
Performer:  Mark Caudle (Bass Violin/Cello), Theresa Caudle (Cornett/Violin), David Miller (Chitarrone),
Alastair Ross (Organ/Harpsichord)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Italy 
11.
Sinfonia in F major by Alessandro Stradella
Performer:  Theresa Caudle (Cornett/Violin), David Miller (Chitarrone), Alastair Ross (Organ/Harpsichord),
Mark Caudle (Bass Violin/Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Period: Baroque 
12.
Sinfonia in D minor by Alessandro Stradella
Performer:  Alastair Ross (Organ/Harpsichord), David Miller (Chitarrone), Mark Caudle (Bass Violin/Cello),
Theresa Caudle (Cornett/Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Italy 
13.
Sonatas (12) for Violin and Basso Continuo, Op. 5: no 5 in G minor by Arcangelo Corelli
Performer:  David Miller (Chitarrone), Mark Caudle (Bass Violin/Cello), Theresa Caudle (Cornett/Violin),
Alastair Ross (Organ/Harpsichord)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canzona
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1700; Rome, Italy 

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