Michala Petri, Mahan Esfahani – Arcangelo Corelli – La Follia: Six Sonatas, Op. 5, No. 7-12 (2015) DSF DSD64

Michala Petri, Mahan Esfahani – Arcangelo Corelli – La Follia: Six Sonatas, Op. 5, No. 7-12 (2015)
DSD64 (.dsf) 1 bit/2,82 MHz | Time – 01:06:22 minutes | 2,59 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: nativeDSDmusic | Digital Booklet | © OUR Recordings

Fate blessed the Italian violinist and composer Arcangelo Corelli with talent, modesty, wealthy patrons, faithful disciples and extraordinary riches.

Numerous original sources were consulted prior to the making of this disc during three inspired days of recording in Copenhagen’s Garnisons Kirke. But once the tape was rolling, Michala Petri and Mahan Esfahani let the excitement of superlative music making be their only guide, giving free rein to their boundless creativity and virtuosity and embracing the improvisational spirit that this music requires.

So widespread was Corelli’s appeal that copies of his works have been found as far afield as St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Constantinople, and even America (he was known to be a favourite composer of U.S.’s third president, Thomas Jefferson). It can be said without any exaggeration that Corelli was the first world-famous composer. Yet, for all his celebrity, only a handful of works have come down to us, with the Violin Sonatas op. 5 occupying pride of place. The sonatas presented here come from the second half of the op. 5 collection, referred to in the original 1700 publication as “Parte seconda: Preludii, Allemande, Correnti, Sarabande, Gavotte, e Follia.”

As the title suggests, the music was inspired by dance rhythms and their infectious melodiousness made them popular pieces with performers of all instruments; a couple of them even entered the English dance-tune repertory. The relatively simple nature of these movements provides scope for all sorts of ornamentation and improvisation.

Gramophone Review 

It’s rare to experience the level of artistic rapport heard on this recording from the Danish recorder player Michala Petri and Iranian-born harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. Corelli’s Op 5 provides the framework for a remarkable demonstration of not only the rich, idiomatic possibilities for transcription from violin to recorder but, significantly, the extraordinary levels of dialogue (trs 1 and 15) and genuine inspiration of the moment it inspires.

In Petri’s capable hands, the recorder becomes a medium through which she conveys a more vocal interpretation of thematic material than ever a violin could. From Corelli’s logical, elegant bass-lines, Esfahani crafts the most imaginative and engaging accompaniments and repartee I have ever heard, each phrase, section and movement a skilful and stylish response (trs 1 and 14), to which he brings an astonishing range of techniques (trs 8 and 9) and instrumental colour (trs 13, 17 and 19). The musical chemistry between the two musicians is palpable and most evident in the quick exchanges in the faster movements (trs 5, 9, 11 and 20). While there are moments of both sublime simplicity and compelling declamation (tr 12), equally there is joyfulness and banter. Together, Petri and Esfahani take the application of ornamentation to new levels of sophistication (trs 2, 3 and 16), exploring the implications of the music itself, commenting and reflecting on it by they way they choose to embellish repeats and points of imitation.

This is a recording that will repay repeated listening as a masterclass in musical collaboration. It breaks new and higher ground.


Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)

1 Sonata G Minor opus 5 no. 12 “La Follia” 10:13

Sonata G Minor opus 5 no. 7
2 Preludio – Vivace 2:06
3 Corrente – Allegro 3:51
4 Sarabande – Largo 1:48
5 Giga – Allegro 2:28

Sonata C Major opus 7 no. 9
6 Preludio – Largo 4:09
7 Giga – Allegro 3:06
8 Adagio 0:38
9 Tempo di Gavotta – Allegro 2:46

Sonata G Major opus 5 no. 11
10 Preludio – Adagio 1:35
11 Allegro 2:32
12 Adagio 0:47
13 Vivace 2:08
14 Gavotta – Allegro 5:07

Sonata G Minor opus 5 no. 8
15 Preludio – Largo 3:30
16 Allemanda – Allegro 2:22
17 Sarabanda – Largo 6:19
18 Giga – Allegro 2:03

Sonata G Major opus 5 no. 10
19 Preludio- Adagio 1:42
20 Allemanda- Allegro 2:10
21 Sarabanda- Largo 2:00
22 Gavotta- Allegro 0:45
23 Giga- Allegro 2:17

Michala Petri, recorder
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord




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