FoM Recordings

Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli: The Violin Sonatas of 1660

The Smithsonian Chamber Players: (Mark Fewer, violin; Myron Lutzke, violoncello; Kenneth Slowik, harpsichord)

FoM 36-802

Though they have been known to scholars at least since 1901, the year Luigi Torchi published his seminal survey of 16th-, 17th-, and 18th-century Italian music, the sonatas of Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli received little attention until the mid 1980s, when the first of several modern editions appeared. Torchi’s dismissive treatment of Pandolfi’s works, though perhaps typical for his time, is strongly enough worded to have discouraged several generations of researchers: “Their musical substance is acrobatic to the extreme, and they are the most difficult among those [violin sonatas] that we have seen so far. But whatever their contribution to the advancement of instrumental technique, they bear witness to a time of degradation of taste (un tempo de una degenerazione del gusto).” In 1650, however, the Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher had praised, in his encyclopedic Musurgia universalis, something he defined as the stylus phantasticus: “The fantastic style is especially suited to instruments. It is the most free and unrestrained method of composition. Being bound neither to any words nor to a melodic subject, it was instituted to display genius and to teach the hidden design of harmony . . . and may be found among those genres commonly called Fantasias, Ricercars, Toccatas, and Sonatas.” Pandolfi’s sonatas, which appeared only a decade after Kircher’s learned tome, are, in their widely-ranging inventiveness and spectacular pyrotechnics, prime examples of the stylus phantasticus, and have lost none of their freshness over three and one half centuries.



Listen to Pandolfi's Sonata Op. 3, No, 1, La STELLA

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"The common denominator of these sonatas is their virtuosity, which the trio of Mark Fewer, Myron Lutzke, and Kenneth Slowik bring out exquisitely with their exactitude and affection. These performances do not seem like stuffy run-throughs of ancient music but lively, spontaneous interpretations played in a smooth, casual, yet refined and ultraprecise style."

Classical Candor
$16.00 + $2.98 shipping & handling
On this album: 

Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli (fl 1660-69)

Sonate a Violino solo, Op. 3 (1660)

   [1] Sonata Prima. La STELLA

   [2] Sonata Seconda. La CESTA

   [3] Sonata Terza. La MELANA

   [4] Sonata Quarta. La CASTELLA

   [5] Sonata Quinta. La CLEMENTE

    [6] Sonata Sesta. La SABBATINA

Sonate a Violino solo, Op. 4 (1660)

   [7] Sonata Prima. La BERNABEA

   [8] Sonata Seconda. La VIVIANA

   [9] Sonata Terza. La MONELLA ROMANESCA

   [10] Sonata Quarta. La BIANCUCCIA

   [11] Sonata Quinta. La STELLA

   [12] Sonata Sesta. La VINCIOLINA