Castello / Fontana - Sonatas | ECM New Series 4764641

Castello / Fontana - Sonatas


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Label: ECM New Series

Cat No: 4764641

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 2nd April 2012



Leading baroque violinist John Holloway turns to Dario Castello and Giovanni Battista Fontana, two Italian composers from the turn of the 17th century, for his latest journey into undiscovered territory on the early music map, taking along with him two distinguished musicians, Danish harpsichordist Lars Ulrik Mortensen and Jane Gower, a leading player of the dulcian.

Musical scholarship doesn’t have much to tell of either composer. As little is known about Castello, who was leading an ensemble at St Mark’s around 1629, as about the exact birth and death dates of Fontana, who came from Brescia and probably perished during the 1630 outbreak of plague in Padua. Yet there are a number of surviving works by both men that reveal them to have been remarkable composers for the violin.

Two books by Castello of sonate concertate in one to four parts, in stil moderno with continuo, were printed during the composer’s lifetime. Holloway has selected a number of sonatas from this collection to couple with similar works by Fontana, some originally for violin as well as some conceived for other string or wind instruments. Along with solo violin sonatas, he has chosen six of these sonatas for violin and basso continuo that can be regarded as precursors of the later trio sonata or even as early examples of that genre.

The joys of performing this music are many and various: its mood changes and improvisatory character demand – and reward – a willingness to take risks, to live, dangerously, in the moment” says Holloway.

John Holloway has toured extensively as soloist and with the Academy of Ancient Music, the Taverner Consort, Freiberger Barockorchester and other ensembles. For many years he led both the internationally-renowned London Classical Players and the Taverner Players.

In 1999 he was appointed Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at the Hochschule für Musik in Dresden, Germany. His previous, much acclaimed, recordings for ECM include discs of Schmelzer, Leclair, Veracini, two volumes of sonatas by Biber, and Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin.

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