First published in the Guardian on 8 June, 2017
Carbonelli: Sonate da Camera nos 1-6
Illyria Consort / Cicic (Delphian)
Lest we pretend the UK had any purebred indigenous baroque music, here’s another reminder of how much we owe to Europe and the free movement of musicians. Giovanni Stefano Carbonelli – or John Stephen Carbonell as he later styled himself – was one of umpteen virtuoso violinists imported by Italophile rich Brits in the 18th century. Some went home, others stayed to lead our orchestras and create a distinct Italo-Anglo repertoire. Carbonelli eventually made a name as wine merchant to the royal court, but he was classy enough as a violinist for Vivaldi to write him a personalised concerto (‘Il Carbonelli’) and his own music is stately, taught and elegant in the hands of Bojan Cicic (a UK-based Croatian violinist) and his excellent Illyria Consort. They sound effortlessly stylish in these six chamber sonatas — Cicic makes even the high-wire showy stuff sing with a lyricism that is shapely, aerated and totally unforced.