F J CASTRO Trio Sonatas


01 de septiembre de 2016

"Trattenimenti armonici da camera (Bologna, 1695) was the first publication by Francisco José de Castro, an Andalusian Jesuit probably trained initially in Seville but whose musical education was finished in Brescia (in those days governed by the Republic of Venice). This first opus was dedicated to Count Gaetano Giovanelli, the Venetian nobleman who had sponsored Castro’s membership of Brescia’s Accademia dei Formati – a learned society interested not only in music but also in literature and philosophy.

Its 10 trio sonatas are constructed as suites of preludes and dances, and all are played superbly by La Real Cámara. Principal violinist Emilio Moreno – the co-founder of the Glossa label – calls Castro ‘The Spanish Corelli’, and that is borne out by the crystal-clear unfurling of lines played with impressive responsiveness and rhetorical persuasion by Moreno and Enrico Gatti (the collaboration of Spanish and Italian violinists seems apt). Cellist Mercedes Ruiz provides subtle counterpoint on the bowed bass-lines, and continuo realisations by the brothers Pablo (guitar/theorbo) and Aarón Zapico (harpsichord) range between full and lively in quick music and more sparsely restrained in the slow music.

The ninth sonata travels from a beautiful adagio Preludio to its gently playful concluding Minuet (which here has hints of Spanish dance on account of Pablo Zapico’s use of syncopated strumming guitar). Likewise, the Gavotte that concludes the third sonata is played with an infectious zest, and a unison Minuet in the first sonata suggests traces of the composer’s Andalusian roots. At the Corellian end of the scale, there is gracefulness in the central Allemanda in the 10th sonata, whereas the slow Preludio of the seventh sonata has melancholic tension between delicious dissonances and cathartic resolutions. If this whets anyone’s appetite for more Castro, they will be disappointed – although a few more opuses were published, most are lost."

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