Classical CD Reviews
ANNA BON DI VENEZIA: Sonatas Nos. 1 in G minor, 2 in B flat Major, 3 in F Major, 4 in C Major, 5 in B minor & 6 in C Major – Barbara Harbach, harpsichord – MSR Classics
Published on May 14, 2008
You hear little about women composers in the 19th century, and this one only lived to be 27. Her parents were also musicians and they all worked for a time at the court of Prince Esterhazy. Her Op. 2 Six Sonatas for Harpsichord was published in l757 and mix the German style of music with Italian rhythms and attitude. They seem to bridge the distance between Baroque music and the Classical period. After she married an Italian tenor, the composer evidently gave up music, so these sonatas and a work for flute is all we have from her.
All the sonatas have three movements, with slow center movements full of interesting harmonies. The opening Allegro of the Sixth Sonata is a bouncy treat, and its final Minuet and Variations movement is at 6:15 the longest movement in any of the six sonatas.
We just marveled at the wonderful compositions of Barbara Harbach and here she is back on the performer’s bench with a unique program of harpsichord sonatas. She has long advocated women composers, both historic and new, so this CD is very understandable. Her instrument was built in l989 and is a copy of an 18th century French double-manual harpsichord. Its sound is perfect for the sonatas and well recorded too.
- John Sunier