Venetian Art 1600 by Dongois and Le Concert Brisé

Venetian Art 1600: The new instrumental style by Fontana and Buonamente. Accent ACC 24253 Le Concert Brisé. William Dongois; conrnett and Director, Christine Moran; violin, Katharina Bäuml; dulcian, Matthias Spaeter; lute, Hadrien Jourdan; organ, Carsten Lohft, harpsichord and organ. Recorded July 14-19, 2011.

William Dongois formed Le Concert Brisé in the 1990s and the members of this fine ensemble share a musical approach that includes a dedication to the study and understanding of the historical sources as well as the use of improvisational techniques based on jazz and traditional music. The result is incredibly satisfying, particularly when applied to the beautiful early 17th century music presented on this recording. The program includes 12 sonatas and 4 dance pieces by Giovanni Battista Buonamente and Giovanni Battista Fontana.

William Dongois outlines the historical developments of early 17th century instrumental writing in his informative liner notes which are presented in English, French and German. He explains that the early 17th century sonata form took much of its lead from the developments of vocal music and an independent instrumental approach was further developed by composers such as Castello, Scarani, Barini, Frescobaldi and the two composers represented on this recording. Fontana’s music is extremely florid; Dongois and the members of Le Concert Brisé do much with further embellishing the lines. He plays on a 465 Hz straight cornett constructed in 3 sections by Henri Gohin and he achieves the most glorious warm tone imaginable. Even on very virtuosic pieces such as Fontana’s Sonata prima and his Sonata quarta which occasionally ascends to the altissimo register, Dongois maintains a beautiful warmth of tone. The Buonamente sonatas and dance pieces are equally florid and have a majestic quality. His Sonata Prima seems to be influenced by Claudio Monteverdi. The members of Le Concert Brisé share a wonderful sense of ensemble and are all first rate performers who seem to have a complete understanding of this repertoire. The performance employs mean tone temperament at high pitch. It is a stunning performance.

 -- Jeffrey Nussbaum