The Trio Sonata in 18th-Century Italy

London Baroque


Just as the seventeenth century saw the rise of the trio sonata to its position as the most important chamber music form, so the eighteenth century saw its decline and eventual demise. The seventh and penultimate disc in London Baroque’s highly acclaimed survey of the genre through the two centuries lets us sample these later developments in Italy, the nation where the genre had evolved some 100 years earlier. We do so through works by composers who are well-known (Vivaldi), unknown (Bonporti), known for the wrong reasons (Albinoni never composed the famous – or infamous – Adagio) and ignored by mistake (the trio sonata that inspired Stravinsky to compose Pulcinella was by Domenico Gallo and not by Pergolesi, as was long believed). Among our Italians are Locatelli and Tartini, two of the great violinist-composers of the period, as well as a trio largely active in musical centres outside of Italy: Bononcini, Sammartini and Porpora, who taught the young Haydn in Vienna in the 1750’s. Together their compositions come to form a mosaic, where proud traditions from Corelli and earlier (as seen in Vivaldi’s Folia and Albinoni’s dance suite) are gradually superseded by rococo traits.


With this sonata an interesting and musically entertaining journey through the history of the Italian trio sonata of the 18th century comes to an end. London Baroque is an outstanding guide, who explores the idiosyncracies of the pieces passing by. The energetic playing and the eloquent dialogue between Ingrid Seifert and Richard Gwilt is a joy to listen to. Charles Medlam and Steven Devine deliver engaging support. Those who are acquainted with the previous volumes of this series will not hesitate to add this disc to their collection. Others are advised to give it a try. I can't imagine that they don't want to hear more from this series. I am eagerly awaiting the next - and probably the last - disc in this important project. Musica Dei

"Sylishly and sensitively executed...a highly interesting selection of works, and a disc that can be thoroughly recommended" Early Music Review