Two Violins and One Guitar, Vol. 2 (Anna Holbling/ Jan Slavik/ Jozef Zsapka/ Karol Kopernicky/ Quido Holbling) (Naxos: 8.550645)
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2 Violins and 1 Guitar, Vol. 2
The Trio Sonata, an instrumental composition generallydemanding the services of four players reading from three part-books, assumed enormousimportance in Baroque music, developing from its earlier beginnings at the start of theseventeenth century to a later flowering in the work of Handel, Vivaldi and Bach, afterthe achievements of Arcangelo Corelli in the form. Instrumentation of the trio sonata,possibly for commercial reasons, allowed some freedom of choice. Nevertheless the mostfrequently found arrangement became that for two violins and cello, with a harpsichord orother chordal instrument to fill out the harmony. Although some composers tended tocompromise in matters of form, trio sonatas were more often than not either in the form ofthe Sonata da chiesa, or Church Sonata, with a sequence of four movements, slow, fast,slow, fast, the quicker movements fugal in character, or in the form of the Sonata dacamera, or Chamber Sonata, rather resembling a suite of dance movements. The form was inmany respects that of a concerto grosso in miniature, and trio sonatas could often beexpanded into fuller concerto grosso form by the addition of extra instruments in contrastwith passages left for the smaller concertino group. The form was adapted to the newRococo requirements of the later eighteenth century, before being superseded by theclassical duo sonata and very occasionally by sonatas that used two melody instruments anda chordal accompaniment, of which the present collection offers examples.
Georg Philipp Telemann was born in Magdeburg in 1681 andstudied at the University of Leipzig, where he founded a Collegium musicum later to bedirected by his younger contemporary Johann Sebastian Bach. From 1721 Telemann was Kantorof the Johanneum in Hamburg and director of music in the five principal churches of thecity, a position he retained until his death in 1767. He was a prolific composer, showingtechnical mastery and a peculiar facility that was equally pleasing to professional andamateur musicians. His Trio Sonata in E minor, which allows alternative instrumentation,is characteristic of his writing, with its happy blend of melodic invention and attractivecontrapuntal felicity.
The Italian composer Giovanni Maria Capelli, born in Parma in1648, belongs to the generation of Corelli, the greatest of all trio sonata composers. Formany years he was in the service of Parma Cathedral as singer, priest and finally maestrodi cappella. His F major Trio Sonata is a fine example of the form in the hands of a minorItalian master of the period.
The Trio in D major
by Carulli belongs to another world. Ferdinando Carulli, born in Naples in 1770, began hiscareer as a cellist but changed to the six-string guitar. In 1808 he settled in Paris,where he won a considerable reputation as a guitarist and as a teacher of the instrument.
He died in Paris in 1841. The D major Trio naturally offers the guitarist an opportunityfor display in a texture that allows a measure of equality between the three instrumentsin classical form.
Leonhard von Call was born in 1767 in Eppan in the Tyrol, thenpart of Austrian territory. In Vienna he served as a liquidator's assistant to thetreasury, while providing the musical public with pleasant chamber music that found aready enough market, making frequent use of the guitar in various small ensembles. The Cmajor Trio, with its five movements, otters a pleasing diversion, with the two violinsoften moving together, while the guitar provides its own characteristic accompaniment.
The German-born composer George Frideric Handel began hiscareer as a professional musician in Hamburg, moved for a few years to Italy, theprincipal source of his operatic style, and thence, by way of Hanover, to London, where hewon himself a dominant position, at first in the Italian opera, and then in the creationof English oratorio, his overwhelming popularity finding a place in the pleasure-gardensas well as in the more formal requirements of the ruling House of Hanover, after theaccession of King George I. As in much of his music, Handel was following an Italianexample, here that of Corelli, in his twenty or so trio sonatas, the first of which, in Cminor, again allows alternative instrumentation for flute or recorder instead of the firstof the two violins.
The Trio of Joseph Kreutzer is typical in its operatic style ofthe popular chamber music of the earlier nineteenth century, in which dramatic dialoguebetween the violins alternates with passages in which the two voices move together,abetted by the guitar, with its arpeggiated accompaniment and occasional sorties intorelative prominence. The melodies and texture are very much of the period of the moredistinguished violinist and composer Rodolphe Kreutzer, and above all of Rossini.
Anna and Quido Holbling
Anna and Quido Holbling studied at the College of Music andDrama in Bratislava and formed a duo in 1969. Quido Holbling won the title of laureate atthe 1967 Wieniawski Competition and the couple have performed in many recitals andconcerts at several of the major festivals including the Salzburg Festival. In 1983 theywere founder members of the Capella Istropolitana, the chamber group of the SlovakPhilharmonic Orchestra.
The outstanding Slovak guitarist Jozef Zsapka is a graduate ofthe College of Music and Drama in Bratislava and, as a soloist, has made many recordingsof both Baroque and contemporary guitar concertos.
Jan Slavik is the cellist of the Moyzes Quartet.