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Friday, July 09, 2004
  Trio Sonata, Op. 3, No. 2
Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 5 Tracks 28-32

Corelli comes out on top. As we may recall, this anthology presents another unfortunate comparison on the other side of Baroque. The second time we heard Orpheus announce his plans to go underground was far more convincing than the first. And here, the second time we encounter violins fulfilling the promise of cruel Amaryllis, Legrenzi, sadly, is upstaged.

The first attraction of Corelli's piece is the attention he gave to the bass line. Of course, three voices make a better fugue than two. But the cello is a boon in the slow movements as well. Because of the sense of motion it provides, the upper two voices are able to linger, once and awhile, on a delicately calculated dissonance.

What I like about this genuine trio are the moments when the violins sustain a single pitch for more than a bar. The opening, for example, is unforgettable in the way that a single note, above the descending bass, is doubled. Strangely, two violins sustaining a note together has a profoundly different meaning than one violin alone. Corelli makes the unison sound memorable. Before the final cadence, he rewards our memory with one more beautifully sustained pitch (near the end of track 31). 
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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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