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David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2011

In reviewing the first of these two discs of Richter’s Sonate da camera I commented that he had made a decision to set aside the fashionable 18th-century virtuosity. His life began in 1709, but musical history does not catch up with him until in his thirties, he was vice-Kapellmeister in Kempton and later a member of the court orchestra in Mannheim. He was then to be found travelling to England, France and Spain while composing works in many genres. The six sonatas for flute, harpsichord and cello were published in 1764 and followed an earlier, if somewhat different, version for violin, harpsichord  and cello. That change could well have come from his time in London where the gentle sounds of the flute were much preferred in the wealthy houses where performances would take place. Indeed the music is characterised by refinement even in the spirited finales, the sonatas cast in the conventional three movements. That he could write most attractive melodies is always apparent, the flute given a solo role, and while the disc’s booklet relates at length to the harpsichord’s important role, the cello and harpsichord, for much of the time, just add an interesting accompaniment. That is emphasized by the recorded balance that is close up onto the flute with the harpsichord set well back. Two short pieces for keyboard complete the disc. I am grateful that this second disc reveals that the instruments are of period origin, Pauliina Fred’s transverse flute playing being neat, agile and full of baroque style. Heidi Peltoniemi’s cello of 1718 is attractive, and the harpsichord—a copy of a 1760 instrument—is in the hands of the much experienced Aapo Häkkinen. Link the two discs and you have much to enjoy.

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