Corelli: La Follia – Six Sonatas, Op 5 Nos 7-12

Reviewed on Thu 08 Jan, 2015

Michala Petri and Mahan Esfahani present an intriguing version of Corelli’s Op 5 Sonatas, originally written for violin but here transcribed for “a flute and a bass with the approbation of severall Eminent Masters”, according to the title page of the 18th-century publication that is the basis of this performance. The 'flute' is what we now call a recorder and in Petri’s hands it is happily equal to the demands of Corelli’s dynamic writing: lively in the fast passages, but equally capable of bringing out the lyrical nature of the legato slower movements. Esfahani, much more than just a sympathetic keyboard accompanist, maintains a lively dialogue with the soloist. Indeed, he confesses in the booklet that he did not always follow the transcriber’s rather unimaginative continuo parts (“a great deal happened on the spur of the moment”) – which is, of course, how all good music-making should be. A delightful album.
–Mark Walker