Purcell: Twelve Sonatas in Three Parts -

The 17th century practice in England of writing trio sonatas reflected both French vocal and theatrical music and Italian virtuoso string playing, so Henry Purcell's works in this form are typical Baroque hybrids of lyrical airs and highly ornamented violin parts. Ostensibly organized in pairs, alternating minor and relative major keys, the 12 sonatas on this SACD by the Retrospect Trio are elegant and concise pieces consisting of several short movements, and their moods range from melancholy to joyous. This album follows the group's debut recording of Purcell's 10 sonatas in four parts, so taken together they cover the two published sets. The ensemble's sound is exquisite, and the pair of violinists and the basso continuo of bass viol and harpsichord or organ produce a vibrant blend that gleams with authentic period sonorities and ornamentation. The DSD and multichannel reproduction give the performances a wonderful depth and clarity, and even though the recording space might seem a little too resonant, the instruments are distinctly separated and the details of the music are crisp and clean.
21 October 2011