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Grandissima Gravita

Brecon Baroque, Rachel Podger

(17 press reviews)
Original Recording Format: DSD 256
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Grandissima Gravita brings together the compositions by four violinist-composers. Performed by violinist Rachel Podger and the Brecon Baroque ensemble featuring Alison McGillivray (Cello), Daniele Caminiti (Lute & Guitar) and Marcin Świątkiewicz (Harpsichord) in Stereo and 5 Channel Surround Sound DSD.

United by a reverence for Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), and in particular his Opus 5, these works explore the imagination of form that was the Sonata for violin and continuo. Weaving together stylized dances and the preludic tradition, we are transported to a world of musical alchemy – the violinist creating ex nihilo textures and melodies that entrance and amaze.

Rachel Podger tells us: “The four composers’ connections read like a popular comedy! Violin virtuosos Francesco Maria Verachini andJohann Georg Pisendel had an argument which resulted in Veracini flying into a rage and throwing himself from first floor a balcony, damaging his foot and limping forever after. Verachini amazed Giuseppe Tartini with his astonishingly smooth bowing technique, whereupon Tartini locked himself away to practice. Pisendel studied with Tartini and Antonio Vivaldi.”

Rachel Podger, Violin
Brecon Baroque
Alison McGillivray, Cello
Daniele Caminiti, Lute & Guitar
Marcin Świątkiewicz, Harpsichord


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Sonata for violin and continuo in A major op. 2 no. 2
Sonata for violin and continuo in A minor - Andante Cantabile
Sonata for violin and continuo in A minor - Allegro
Sonata for violin and continuo in A minor - Allegro assai
Sonata for violin and continuo in G minor op 2 no. 5 - Adagio assai
Sonata for violin and continuo in G minor op 2 no. 5 - Capriciio
Sonata for violin and continuo in G minor op 2 no. 5 - Allegro assai
Sonata for violin and continuo in G minor op 2 no. 5 - Giga
Sonata for violin and harpsichord in C minor - Adaio
Sonata for violin and harpsichord in C minor - Presto
Sonata for violin and harpsichord in C minor - Affetuoso
Sonata for violin and harpsichord in C minor - Vivace
Sonata no. 12 for violin and continuo in D minor - Passagallo
Sonata no. 12 for violin and continuo in D minor - Capriccio cromatico
Sonata no. 12 for violin and continuo in D minor - Adagio, Ciaccona
Sonata a solo in E flat major

Total time: 01:07:02

Additional information





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van der Hul

Digital Converters

Hapi 256fs

Editing Software


Mastering Engineer

Jared Sacks

Mastering Room

Grimm LS1


Bruel & Kyaer, Schoeps

Mixing Board

Rens Heijnis custom made




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Original Recording Format


Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

Recording Engineer

Jared Sacks

Recording Location

St. Jude's on the Hill, Hampstead, London

Recording Software


Recording Type & Bit Rate


Release DateSeptember 21, 2017

Press reviews

Positive Feedback

The recording is transparent, dynamic, and richly detailed, opening a window onto some intriguing, entertaining, and richly rewarding music that is supremely well performed. (…) The performers play with infectious joy, easily passing phrase from one to the other, seemingly reading each other’s thoughts as their music making breathes as one. (…) The recording by Jared Sacks is another treasure. Vivid, full, and colorful life is given to each of the instruments, and to the ensemble as a whole, in this intimate natural acoustic setting.

(…) Wer noch ein Weinachtsgeschenk für Freunde italienischer und italienisch inspirierter Geigenmisik des 18.Jahrhundert sucht, dürfte mit dieser CD goldrichtig liegen. (…)

(…) British Baroque violinist Rachel Podger has previously fascinated me both with Mozart’s sonatas and early baroque kumbering, which explains his understanding of the extent and style of his infertility. The latest feature of Podger and record label Channel Classics with the title “Grandissima Gravita” is perhaps even more fascinating than before – it contains music from the baroque jewels of the Golden Age. Tartini, Veracini, Vivaldi and Pisendel were violinist composers in Italy at the beginning of the 18th century when the skill of composing a violin and playing music had evolved to a peak. (…)


(…) another gem in which each radiant quick strike of violin, cello, lute or harpsichord is heard buoyant and tactile alive. (…) This recording is so present and dynamic that you can easily visualize Podger smiling and dancing in place to each of her long punctuated strokes (or dynamic quip) on her violin. (…)

(…) Most evident are Podger’s distinctively tangy, pungent sound—a winning combination of acid and sweetness that seems ideal for her chosen repertoire—and her ability to enliven every phrase she plays. Auditioned via a stereo DSD128 download from, Podger’s playing sounds glorious throughout. (…) another potential award-winner for Podger and Brecon Baroque

The Strad

Her accounts of the Vivaldi, Tartini and Pisendel sonatas are all turned with style, imagination and sensitivity and she introduces vibrato and extempore ornamentation freely. She is underpinned throughout by an excellent continuo team (…) The recording is typically lucid, detailed and ideally balanced.

Stereophile Magazine [March 2018] 5 out of 5

A treat for baroque completists and violin lovers [4 stars for Performance, 5 stars for Sonics]

Positive Feedback

Snow showers! On November 13. In Western Massachusetts! And unexpectedly this album of baroque violin sonatas sounds warm and comforting that last week seemed a bit indifferent. I’ve learned not to underestimate the role meteorological (and other) conditions can play in how music strikes me. Rachel Podger, who has become one of the stars of the baroque violin, has been moving beyond her usual fare of late, a reward for having earned her stripes with Bach, Mozart, and Vivaldi. She is now free to sort through appealing works by lesser lights. For our pleasure. Accompanied by her usual friends these days, including the always dependable cellist, Alison Gillivray. These two musicians have a wonderful way with each other and Veracini in particular is the benefactor. This music occupies the territory where beauty and play intersect which perfectly suits Podger’s performing personality. Last week this album wanted little to do with me, this week it loves me. So consider this album when the snow flies near you.

Gramophone [Editor’s Choice – Dec 2017] 5 out of 5

Programmed and presented with flair, and faultlessly performed, this is a listening experience of unbridled pleasure. An exceptional album.

Musicweb International

Superbly performed and recorded as you would expect, this is a very fine collection of some intriguing and entertaining works. Bringing out the best of four musicians, the sound created is full and colourful, from sparkling harpsichord, thrumming lute and support for the bass line from the cello, Rachel Podger’s virtuoso violin has plenty of substance over which it can sing and declaim with joyous expressiveness. (…) this is some of the best Baroque period music making currently available on this particular planet.

Luister (Luister 9) 5 out of 5

(…) De violiste inspireert met haar ongelofelijk verfijnde en kalme spel en laat horen terecht gekroond te zijn tot koningin van de barokviool (…) sensitieve musici (…) Een groot compliment verdient Mark Seow, schrijver van de programmatoelichting. (…) 5 out of 5

(…) the contribution of members of Brecon Baroque – Daniele Caminiti (lute and guitar), Alison McGillivray (cello) and Marcin ?wi?tkiewicz (harpsichord) – is as delightful and imaginative as that of the soloist. (…) unusual and amusing liner notes by Mark Seow (…) the sound on this multi-channel DSD possesses the remarkable vividness, warmth and realism that one has come to expect from every Channel Classics release on SACD. (…) The typically incomparable level of artistry and technical excellence Rachel Podger and her Brecon Baroque colleagues brings to each of these sonatas ensure that this SACD warrants the highest recommendation.

Diapason (5) 5 out of 5

Rachel Podger, aussi spirituelle que lyrique, en transe ou méditant, l’archet bien à la corde ou peignant les harmoniques, fait face à ces ténèbres avec une telle spontanéité qu’elle rend unique chacune de ces pages, et met magnifiquement en valeur le clair-obscur de cette musique italienne.

BBC Music Magazine [Chamber Choice, Dec 2017] 5 out of 5

“Rachel Podger, inevitably, is the star, but ultimately the disc’s compulsive spell is down to the triumph of ensemble chemistry. Even the humblest of cello lines is elevated beyond functionality into something expressive and integral to the overall effect. Bewitching.”

5 ***** for Performance
5 ***** for Recording

Opus Klassiek

(…) Dit zijn uitvoeringen die van begin tot eind een diepe indruk maken. (…)de perfecte articulatie, het kleurrijke lijnenspel, de pregnante ritmiek, de bereidheid ook om het scherp van de snede op te zoeken. En dan is er niet in de laatste plaats Jared Sacks die in het Londense St Jude’s-on-the-Hill er weer een opnamtechnisch juweel van heeft gemaakt.

iClassical 5 out of 5

Another superb recording from the award-winning Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque.

BBC Radio 3 – CD Review

The expressive freedom they find together is a real joy. (…) The quality of conversation between the four of them is riveting, full of incident and dynamic interplay.


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