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The 17th-century violin repertoire of sonatas, chiaconas, toccatas and diminutions is here surveyed with a continuo team of dulcian, theorbo and organ. The set up is ideally conceived to throw into relief the emerging emancipation of treble and bass lines from polyphonic texture, with Elena Bianchi’s dulcian embroidering the bassline with bite and elegance. Ensemble Aurora is firm about the importance of using a full organ, rather than a positive or chest organ in this repertoire, and an Italian full organ at that. They point out that the muted bourdon stop was not introduced into Italy until very much later, Italian builders preferring the foundation stops based on the principale; and that this early basso continuo depends on the specific characteristics of the Italian full organ for its effect. The organ chosen here is a 1647 Luca Neri in the collegiate church of San Nicolò in Collescipoli. It is certainly strident and flavoursome, and mostly highly effective, though the chordal accompaniment to Antonio Bertali’s solo violin ‘Chiacona’is rendered heavy and clunky, and some intonation issues arise between organ and violin. Impressive playing, however.

Catherine Groom Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing