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Concert at the Habsbouurg Court: Works by Biber, Froberger, Schmelzer & Walther / Ensemble Stravaganza

Notes & Reviews:

Ensemble Stravaganza was founded by violinist Domitille Gilon and harpsichordist Thomas Soltani. The group's forces include regular members Ronald Martin Alonso on gamba and guitarist Damien Pouvreau, and are augmented as needed by members of other prestigious period instrument ensembles. The group's début disc focuses on music from the Habsburg court, one of the most powerful empires in European history. Music enlivened the Habsburg Court starting in the fifteenth century. The four composers featured on this album were beneficiaries of the artistic enlightenment of the court.

American Record Guide, May/June 2013
This is an interesting anthology of violin works by Biber: two sonatas from 1681 (3 and 5) and the 'Crucifixion' from the so-called Mystery Sonatas. There are also pieces by Schmelzer (Sonata 3 from 1664) and Johann Jakob Walther (Suite 8 from the Hortulus Chelicus, 1681). For contrast, Thomas Soltani plays Froberger's Lamentation for Ferdinand III on the harpsichord, and Damien Pouvreau adds three guitar pieces by Nicola Matteis. The success of this anthology depends on the skill of the violinist, Domitille Gilon. While she is a very capable performer, I find the interpretations much too careful; they underplay the intense drama of this repertoire. For the serious collector, the earlier recordings are to be preferred.


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