The Strad Issue: January 2010
Musicians: Trio Settecento
Composer: Schop, Schmelzer, Muffat, Krieger, Buxtehude, Bach, Erlebach & Pisendel

Trio Settecento’s accounts of the four trio sonatas in this programme of German Baroque music suffer from problems of balance, John Mark Rozendaal’s gamba occasionally seeming too distant in several passages of melodic significance. Nevertheless, these period players realise the contrasting metres and tempos of Schmelzer’s D minor Sonata (1659) with conviction, and characterise effectively the final variation movement of Krieger’s op.2 no.2. They adapt well to the Italianate quasi-improvisatory passages in the finale of Buxtehude’s brilliant op.1 no.5, and violinist Rachel Barton Pine responds sensitively to the scordatura timbres of Erlebach’s Third Sonata, particularly throughout its powerful Ciaconne and poignant final Adagio.

Barton Pine is fleet of finger and bow in Muffat’s Sonata in D major and in the concertante-style outer movements of Pisendel’s Sonata in the same key, but pride of place must go to her imaginative account of Bach’s Sonata in E minor (BWV1023), which combines brilliance and verve in the outer movements with subtle inflections in the quasi-improvisatory Adagio and elegance in the Allemanda. She also contributes stylish division playing in Schop’s ‘Nobleman’ (1646) and a polished account of J.S. Bach’s challenging G minor Fugue BWV1026. Balance issues apart, the recording combines immediacy with an attractive ambient warmth.