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Classical - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - 10 de Classica-Répertoire
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Violin Concertos - Released August 26, 2002 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 10 de Répertoire - Recommandé par Classica
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Chamber Music - Released February 26, 2009 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica
One of the darkest corners of Tomaso Albinoni's worklist is his chamber music. Albinoni's Opus 2, published in 1700, is particularly problematical, as half of its 12 numbers are chamber sonatas and the other half consists of concertos, chamber concertos to be sure, but the very word concerto is often taken automatically to mean orchestral music. There is a longstanding tradition of playing this music, even the sonatas, as though it were orchestral music, and at least two recorded editions of all 12 pieces -- by Claudio Scimone and I Solisti Veneti in the 1970s and the Insieme strumentale di Roma in the 1990s -- that make no major distinction between what is a concerto and what is a sonata. Chiara Banchini and her Ensemble 415 will have none of that; on the Zig Zag Territories recording Albinoni: Sinfonie a Cinque, Op. 2, Banchini decides to isolate the sonatas only from the published set and perform them in an unmistakably chamber-oriented setting, and the result is the best Albinoni recording since the Locatelli Trio recorded works taken from Opp. 4 and 6 for Hyperion back in the early '90s. Albinoni's Op. 2 is a critically important publication; it was a major building block of Venetian Baroque style and was well known to Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach; it represents, in many ways, the next step forward from the work of Arcangelo Corelli. While Albinoni's effort is essentially popularly oriented, he fashions these pieces out of technical resources more commonly associated with serious composition; internal canons, fugal procedures, imitation (a favorite technique of Albinoni's even in concertos), and so forth. The music is harmonically lush, rhythmically dynamic, and compositionally solid as rock, and the ensemble dimensions of Ensemble 415 are just the right fit for it. The performances are emotionally responsive and strive for a beautiful ensemble blend; they are exquisite overall, although careful ears might detect some confusion in the theorbo part in the Largo of the Sonata No. 5 in B flat. Nevertheless, if you've ever wondered where J.S. Bach got the idea for the second Allegro in the Third Brandenburg Concerto, you need look no further than the one that concludes Sonata No. 5 in this set. If that's not enticement enough, suffice it is to say Zig Zag Territories' Albinoni: Sinfonie a Cinque, Op. 2, is urgently recommended for those afflicted with a taste of high-quality Baroque music and will happily appeal to less specialized musical interests who just want to hear something pleasing, yet substantial. © TiVo
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Violin Concertos - Released August 26, 2002 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 1, 2006 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions Diapason d'or - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Supremely lovely and deeply beautiful, the performances on this two-disc set devoted to the music of Luigi Boccherini are compelling proof that the Italian-Spanish composer was more than a Rococo bantam weight. Beyond his well-known Minuet, Fandango, and "La Ritirada di Madrid" and his enormous number of cheerful cello concertos and sonatas written for the cello-playing Spanish king, Boccherini was also a composer of quartets, quintets, symphonies, and sacred works that rival those of his contemporary Haydn. This coupling of four symphonies, a string quintet, and the Stabat Mater by the Ensemble 415 led from the violin by Chiara Banchini is a wonderful introduction to Boccherini's art. In the three-movement symphonies, Banchini leads strong but sensitive performances that bring out the music's lyrical themes, subtle colors, and elegant shapes. With sweet-voiced soprano Agnés Mellon, Banchini finds within a strict sequence of recitatives and arias the sorrow, pity, and unshakable faith in the Stabat Mater. But perhaps best of all is the Quintet in C minor, Op. 31/4. The immensity of its grief, the austerity of its themes, and the intensity of expression is musically and emotionally overwhelming. Recorded in 1988 and 1991 in Harmonia Mundi's clearest, coolest sound, this two-disc set should be heard by anyone with an interest in music in the second half of the eighteenth century. © TiVo
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Violin Concertos - Released September 27, 2007 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
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Chamber Music - Released December 1, 1994 | Alpha

Booklet
Anyone can set out to perform and record a set of compositions by a given composer. But to truly take the time to bring listeners into the world of both composer and performer, and to engage the listener with as many senses as possible, makes for a truly exceptional recording. Such is the case with this album of Tartini's sonatas for solo violin with violinist Chiara Banchini and soprano Patrizia Bovi. Tartini made a habit of writing excerpts from poetry in the margins of his scores, works he presumably read before writing to gain inspiration. This extremely well-thought-out and beautifully assembled album includes not only the text of the excerpts, but vocal settings of them as well as significant paintings to accompany each of them. Both Banchini and Bovi deliver exceptionally refined performances throughout the album. Bovi's voice is pure, elegant, and perfectly suited for music of this time. Banchini's tone on the Baroque violin is, appropriately, every bit as vocal and singing as the soprano arias. Taken all together, this album is much more than an ordinary CD that is popped in the player and listened to from beginning to end, but rather, an all-encompassing experience that truly transports listeners to another place and time. Unconditionally recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 1, 2004 | Zig-Zag Territoires

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Violin Concertos - Released September 27, 2007 | Zig-Zag Territoires

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Classical - Released August 26, 2003 | Zig-Zag Territoires

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Classical - Released August 1, 1994 | harmonia mundi

Classical - Released November 6, 2012 | Zig-Zag Territoires

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Classical - Released March 20, 2012 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Booklet
The musicians who made historically informed performance the standard for Baroque music in the 1970s and 1980s, once Young Turks, later found themselves eclipsed by still more daring performers (or simply those who benefited from later stages of research). One of the exceptions is Swiss Baroque violinist Chiara Banchini, who inspired many other violinists with her way of teasing the meatier sound of the Baroque instrument into expressive little flourishes. She has chosen several underrated harpsichordists as accompanists over the years, and here, with veteran Jörg-Andreas Bötticher, she finds one capable of keeping up with her investigations of the remarkably complex structures of the music at hand. Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord, here properly termed sonatas for obbligato harpsichord and violin. Bach seems to take a perverse delight in confounding the expectations of those who expect a traditional Italianate violin sonata with the harpsichord moving along in a regular figured bass, although there are passages that resemble one. There are also lengthy solos for the harpsichord, polyphonic inventions where the two instruments are equal, trio-sonata-like configurations, and other combinations, all knit together in a dense musical flow where the shifts in texture seem absolutely natural. This modest medium, in the hands of Banchini and Bötticher, becomes one of the most spectacular demonstrations of Bach's ability to exhaustively exploit the resources inherent in musical materials. The only complaint here is the sound from Switzerland's L'heure bleue theater, which is too live; the playing of Banchini and Bötticher is so muscular and brilliant that it really needs no help from the acoustics, which seem a bit harsh. © TiVo
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Classical - Released December 1, 1994 | Alpha Classics

Booklet
Anyone can set out to perform and record a set of compositions by a given composer. But to truly take the time to bring listeners into the world of both composer and performer, and to engage the listener with as many senses as possible, makes for a truly exceptional recording. Such is the case with this album of Tartini's sonatas for solo violin with violinist Chiara Banchini and soprano Patrizia Bovi. Tartini made a habit of writing excerpts from poetry in the margins of his scores, works he presumably read before writing to gain inspiration. This extremely well-thought-out and beautifully assembled album includes not only the text of the excerpts, but vocal settings of them as well as significant paintings to accompany each of them. Both Banchini and Bovi deliver exceptionally refined performances throughout the album. Bovi's voice is pure, elegant, and perfectly suited for music of this time. Banchini's tone on the Baroque violin is, appropriately, every bit as vocal and singing as the soprano arias. Taken all together, this album is much more than an ordinary CD that is popped in the player and listened to from beginning to end, but rather, an all-encompassing experience that truly transports listeners to another place and time. Unconditionally recommended. © TiVo