Fiona Maddocks 

Castello & Co: Venetian sonatas for winds and strings from the 17th century – review

These Venetian contemporaries of Monteverdi are well worth a listen, writes Fiona Maddocks
  
  

The title Castello & Co gives little away unless you know about obscure early 17th-century Venetian repertoire: as well as Dario Castello (c.1590–c.1658), the composers here are Frescobaldi, Bertoli, Marini, Scarani, Picchi, all writing in or around San Marco, Venice at a time of exciting musical transition, coinciding with Monteverdi and the birth of opera. The combination of instruments – mainly harpsichord, dulcian and high or low trombone, with violins and cornetts joining in for some works – may sound unpromising but proves varied and spirited. The international Caecilia-Consort, well known on the European circuit and regulars at the Utrecht early music festival, play with freshness, energy and precision.