Corelli: Church Sonatas, Opp 1 & 3

Reviewed on Mon 30 Jun, 2014

Corelli’s seminal first experiments in sonata form were published as 'Sonate a tre', Op 1, in 1781, and he followed this with another set (Op 3) in 1789; although the 'da chiesa' label remains attached to them, they were not written for church use. They were, however, hugely influential, particularly in England where Purcell soon published his own. And they remained in vogue throughout the eighteenth century: Charles Avison’s Op 1 was a collection of avowedly Corellian sonatas. Fitting, then, that Pavlo Beznosiuk’s Avison Ensemble follow their previous foray into Corelli (the Op 2 and Op 4 sonatas) with this beautifully performed, ideally recorded double-disc album of both the Op 1 and Op 3 sets. The three parts are here performed by two violins and cello, sensitively accompanied by keyboard and archlute continuo; and the near-ideal clarity of the Linn recording captures this ensemble’s joyful, confident way with Corelli’s dizzyingly lyrical flights.
–Mark Walker