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This disc is a real plucker’s delight featuring not only the skills of three leading mandolinists – Juan Carlos Muñoz, Mari Fe Pavón and Alla Tolkacheva – but also a continuo section consisting of baroque guitar, harpsichord and (anachronistically) Renaissance lute; even the violone and gamba are usually played pizzicato. Together they romp through a programme of concerti and sonatas by Dall’Abaco, Arrigoni, Matteis, Domenico Scarlatti, Johann Sigismund Weiss (rather than his more famous brother Sylvius Leopold), Fasch and of course Vivaldi; with a doffof their tricorns in the direction of earlier baroque composers Castello and Uccellini. This is joyous, glorious music-making.

Though Artemandoline are noted for their pioneering researches in historical mandolin, this is not an exercise in musical archaeology: as you will know, some of the above composers are not known to have written specifically for mandolin (well, mandolinists must have played something ... ) and two of the band’s instruments are not what are termed in some quarters ‘baroque mandolins’ (mandolin nomenclature is a minefield), but copies of very early Neapolitan mandolins, current at the end of the lives of the above composers, and 100 years later than Castello and Uccellini. From the photos in the CD booklet, the stringing is modern too. But who cares? Most lutenists play with modern stringing for that matter. A wonderful disc.

Chris Goodwin Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing