The Strad Issue: January 2011
Description: An enjoyable disc homing in on three composers working in Venice c.1677
Musicians: Rare Fruits Council/Manfredo Kraemer (violin)
Composer: Rosenmüller/Legrenzi/Stradella

Manfredo Kraemer and colleagues focus on the late 17th-century Venetian sonata with a selection of works by Stradella, Legrenzi and Rosenmüller. Their sense of style matches their technical command, and the wide variety of tonal colouring that they lend to these contrasting, yet complementary works underlines the genre’s diverse and richly vibrant character. Their phrasing and sense of line are especially pleasing, along with their sensitive nuancing, spontaneity, and technical athleticism.

The players skilfully negotiate the various changes of tempo, metre and content in four of Legrenzi’s op.10 collection La cetra, relishing the suspensions in the sustained opening of the Sonata sesta à 4; and the fast sections of his Sonata terza à 4 are sprightly and tartly articulated. None of Stradella’s sinfonias bears a dance title, but several adopt typical Baroque dance rhythms, along with dramatic and imitative sections, faithfully realised here. Much is made of Rosenmüller’s chromatic themes, as in the opening of Sonata settima, and the drama and striking harmonic content of slow chordal transition sections in, for example, Sonata undecima. Kraemer’s contribution is strong in personality, but he is well supported, especially by his alert continuo team. The ample acoustic gives a generous bloom to the sound without obscuring detail.