Magazine article Strings

Cello Elevated in New Take on an Ancient Violin Sonata

Magazine article Strings

Cello Elevated in New Take on an Ancient Violin Sonata

Article excerpt

CELLO ELEVATED IN NEW TAKE ON AN ANCIENT VIOLIN SONATA ARCANGELO CORELLI: 'LA FOLLIA' VARIATIONS, ARRANGED FOR CELLO AND PIANO. International Music Company $22.95.

New edition of Corelli's 'La Follia' integrates a mix of old and new

The popular theme of La Follia has an ancient provenance, originating from a simple 15th-century Portuguese folk tune or dance and taken up by Renaissance and Baroque composers who embellished and penned countless variations on its beguiling theme. In fact, all composers in that era worth their salt were expected to write variations on it. Continuing into the Classical era and beyond, Franz Liszt included La Follia in his Rhapsodie Espagnole and Sergei Rachmaninoff followed the trend in his La Follia piano variations. In its most often-used key of D minor, over 150 composers have taken their turn in using this cherished theme.

The tune was almost 200 years old by the time Arcangelo Corelli borrowed it for his 12th violin sonata in 1700, and it had already made the rounds through Spain, Italy, France, and England. The Corelli sonatas suffered the fate of many works of that era, with "modern" adaptations, such as those by Fritz Kreisler and August Wilhelmj proliferating, presumably to satisfy the more Romantic tastes of both player and audience. Basically a slow sarabande in triple meter, La Follia's initial theme of a standard 16-bar chord progression and "stock" melody line is heard at the beginning and the end, serving as bookends for the variations. …

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