The imitation of Italian artists by their Germanic counterparts is a commonplace in the history of Renaissance and Baroque art. Add to the list of painters and sculptors those Flemish and German composers who imitated Italian styles, from Willaert and Schütz to Bach's reworking of Vivaldi. The theme of this CD provides another example, four of the set of Telemann's six Sonates Corellisantes paired with Corelli sonatas that inspired them. Telemann never set foot in Rome, but he knew the Italian violinist's style very well from published scores.
Corellisante (Corelli / Telemann), REBEL Ensemble
(released February 12, 2008)
Telemann, Sonates Corellisantes (I, II, III, V)
Corelli, Sonatas, op. 1 (no. 9), op. 3 (nos. 8, 12), op. 4 (nos. 6, 10)
The sound put down by the American historically informed performance (HIP) ensemble known as REBEL exceeds my expectations from recent concert hearings in 2007 and 2005. In fact, the tracks presented here were recorded back in May 2003, in a close, somewhat busy, but activated and vibrant sound. The trio sonata format, one of the most characteristically Baroque combinations, brings together the group's two lead violinists and co-directors, Jörg-Michael Schwarz and Karen Marie Marmer (omitting the flutes suggested by some editions as alternatives or supplements to the violins). Their nicely matched sound is put to especially good use in the searing suspensions of the Grave introduction to Corelli's op. 3/12, with organ and theorbo, and the gorgeous Largo of Corelli's op. 3/8.
The continuo part is covered by combinations of cellist John Moran (playing an English cello from around 1700, even on the pieces for which Corelli included a part specifically for the violone), Dongsok Chin on either harpsichord or organ, and theorbist Daniel Swenberg on various instruments. The results are intensely pleasant and worthwhile listening, but not really an essential purchase, especially at an import-level price for a single disc.