“A Bohemian in London” Showcases Baroque Rarities

The album title, “A Bohemian in London” refers to Moravian composer Gottfried Finger. Finger was a virtuoso viol player and played in James II’s court orchestra. Later he attempted a career as a freelance composer, eventually giving up and leaving for Germany in 1701.

This collection of violin sonatas is a sampling of the over fifty Finger composed. Finger understood the capabilities of stringed instruments.

These sonatas eschew advanced techniques such as double stops, scordatura, etc. But they still require a great deal from the violinist in terms of dexterity and musicality.

Violinist Hazel Brooks delivers on both counts. Her easy facility with Finger’s showier passages fully incorporates them into the melodic flow. She performs on a baroque violin, drawing a pleasantly rich, full sound from the instrument.

Keyboardist David Pollock provides the basso continuo. Some selections he accompanies with harpsichord, others with chamber organ. The contrast is most welcome, providing variety to the program.

To my ear, these sonatas resembled those of Corelli, with some minor differences in harmony and rhythmic patterns. I appreciate that these thirteen sonatas may be the best of the lot. And while they’re not masterworks, Finger’s sonatas are well-crafted and appealing. And that’s something.

A Bohemian in London
Violin Sonatas by Gottfried Finger
Duo Dorado
Chaconne CHAN 0824

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