The Contest Between Apollo and Pan
Apollo and Pan
The virtuoso sonatas of Dario Castello offer a synopsis of the crucial stage of development in instrumental music during the early seventeenth century. They are complemented here by dances and an anthology of the most common variations of the time. The instrumentation is particularly noted for the virtuosic writing for bassoon.
Little is known about the life of Castello apart from what can be learnt from the title pages of his collections, on which he calls himself the leader of the wind band at the San Marco basilica in Venice. During the sixteenth century it was the duty of the basilica's second organist to arrange wind music for special ceremonies. Castello's two collections of virtuoso instrumental music are milestones in the repertoire, and led to a considerable number of reprints for several decades after their initial publication.
The five works recorded here represent the typical virtuoso sonatas of the then modern stile concertato, which implied the interaction of diverse musical forces. The second large group of pieces featured here consists of variation movements, which enjoyed their greatest popularity during the seventeenth century. Apollo & Pan here performs music by some of the finest and most progressive writers of the age, including Sonata No. 7 by Bertoli, a Ciaccona by Merula, the Sonata on E tanto tempo hormai by Turini, Fuggi dolente core by Marini and a Sontata on Un aria francese by Rossi.
Helped by an excellent recording, clean and alive, this is a first-rate introduction to Apollo and Pan on disc BBC Music Magazine
Apollo & Pan has performed at the South Bank Early Music Festival, York Early Music Festival, Spitalfields Festival and many other regional festivals across the UK. BBC Radio 3 has broadcast its concerts and it has featured on "Music Restored", "In Tune", and "The Early Music Show". Individually, the members of Apollo & Pan play regularly with leading early music groups and period orchestras such as The Hanover Band, I Fagiolini, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and The Parley of Instruments.
Their slightly astringent quality and wealth of colour serve this music extremely well. Many ensembles have given flashier and more exhilarating performances of these pieces, but Pan and Apollo are more concerned with texture and musical rhetoric than mere display... Chandos have given this young ensemble an exemplary recorded sound and the scholarly Erhardt contributes a helpful booklet essay. International Record Review