Arcangelo Corelli: Trio Sonatas

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Nina Stern and Michael Lynn, recorders
Edward Parmentier, harpsichord
Enid Sutherland, violoncello
Recorded Manchester, Michigan, by Praeclara Recordings, Kathy Stewart Lynn. (WLBR 9203)

Transcribed from Concerti Grossi, Op. VI for two recorders and continuo by J. Walsh, London 1714.

Arcangelo Corelli was without doubt one of the pivotal influences in all of music at the dawn of the eighteenth century. Immensely popular, all of his fame and popularity devolved from a scant six collections of orchestral and chamber music, mostly published near the end of his life, but widely circulated in manuscript for decades before. Shortly after the publication of the Opus VI Concerti Grossi, John Walsh set to work in London transcribing them for two recorders and continuo, a combination he knew would find favor among the English amateurs of the day. They were published in 1720 and proved sufficiently popular to warrant a second printing a decade later. These transcriptions were carefully done, far more ambitious than a simple transposition to suit the range and capabilities of the alto recorder. Movements were borrowed or moved, new movements introduced from unknown sources, elaborate means employed to ensure that all of the music in the original five or six parts found expression in the three parts of these trios.

Walsh himself had this to say: “Although the universall Admiration of Corelli’s Works have allmost equaliz’d his Meritt, yet there are many Gentlemen Lovers of Musick who want a true Taste of his perfections, his Compositions being for the Violin only, if so agreeable an Instrument as the Flute could be accomodated with the same benefitt, it would add to the Honor of the Composer, the Pleasure of the performer, and supply that Instrument’s defect of good Musick, which has been so much of late Complain’d of…”

—J. Walsh, London 1720