Perla Barocca – early italian masterpieces

Rachel Podger

(16 press reviews)
Original Recording Format: DSD 64
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By the mid-seventeenth century, musical composition had reached a point where invention had converged with technical mastery. Composers embraced a bass line lively with linearity, often entering into dialogue with the upper voices. Exploratory harmonic schemes were encompassed within larger unified tonalities. Through rhetorical structures, such as motive, imitation and sequence, composers instilled logic into their musical arguments. These characteristics, though rooted in vocal practice, were being cultivated for the first time in musical history for instrumentalists. In other words, the Baroque was born.

The featured composers showcase sublime examples of the early Italian Baroque. Some composers dominate the repertory; others have left behind only a handful of works. Here, they come together to convey the diverse musical landscape at such an excitingly rich and creative era.


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Sonata Seconda
Toccata Prima
Sonata overo Toccata quinta a violino solo
Sonata Seconda
Sonata quatro per sonar con due corde
Toccata per Spinettina e Violino
Sonata Sesta (Op 4, 1690) La Vinciolina
Sonata Duodecima
Ricercar del Primo Tono
Sonata a due, Milano 1610

Total time: 01:09:48

Additional information





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van der Hul

Digital Converters

Grimm AD

Mastering Engineer

Jared Sacks

Mastering Equipment

B&W 803 diamond series


Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps

Mixing Board

Rens Heijnis custom made



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Original Recording Format


Jonathan Freemann Attwood

Recording Engineer

Jared Sacks

Recording location

Schiedam Holland

Recording Software


Recording Type & Bit Rate


Release DateSeptember 12, 2014

Press reviews


(..) er wordt met groot inlevingsvermogen, kennis en fantasie gespeeld. (…) Een uitstekend opgenomen cd.


“Antonio Bertali’s (1605–1669) Ciaconna for Violin, Keyboard, and Chittarrone, from violinist Rachel Podger’s Perla Barocca: Early Italian Masterpieces was captivating. As Podger and the other musicians went to town, her piquant playing was depicted with greater veracity and clarity than I’d ever heard on my system. A major wow experience.”

Luister 5 out of 5

Weer zo’n pareltje van violiste Rachel Podger (…) Podger heeft de eenvoud tot kunst verheven, in klank, in taal en in gevoel. (…) Deze muziek, van voor de tijd dat muziek een ‘liedje’ werd, brengt intimiteit; Podger lijkt in al haar bescheidenheid alleen voor jou te spelen.


(…) Het playing is sinuous, clear and unfailingly precise (…)


(…) the music is simply awesome in every way (…) Podger wields a very alluring bow and her playing is always creative and passionate (…) The recording is fabulous in every way. The sound is dense and deep. (…) Thanks to Channel for another great release.

BBC Music Magazine: Chamber Choice 5 out of 5

(…) There’s an unfailing eloquence in all Rachel Podger does. (…) A pearl of great price indeed!

The WholeNote

This beautiful disc is a pearl indeed. (…) Rachel Podger and her colleagues make use of an extraordinary range of tonal colour and volume, as well as numerous special effects described in writings of the time but rarely heard nowadays in performances of this repertoire. (…) perfect exploitation of expressive device, creative pacing and snappy virtuosity (…) A must-listen.

Presto Classic

Fresh from winning the Instrumental category in the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2014 for “Guardian Angel” (CCSSA35513) Rachel Podger is back with this beautiful collection of masterpieces of the early Italian Baroque.
(Finalist Discs of 2014)

Opus Haute Définition

(..) passion and creativity in the playing of the artists in presence, placed under the sign of the constant inspiration Rachel Podger gets out of her instrument. (…) A sound recording with perfect instrumental balance, this SACD is one of the jewels of the new year.


British violinist Rachel Podger – whose rhythmic energy, purity of tone and sheer charm as a performer make her one of the most popular of period-instrument violinists – has released another winner.

Absolute Sound

(…) Engineer Jared Sacks works his usual magic with Podger’s latest cc sacd, ‘Perla Barocca’ (…) Podger has two outstanding collaborators (…) The bright, silvery, largely vibratoless tone of Podger’s instrument, a Genoese violin made in 1739, illuminates perfecdy the spirit and emotional acuity of the wideranging program material. (…) These pearls are real gems.

Herald Scotland- Michael Tumelty

In the very early 17th century, extraordinary things were happening to music. Tectonic plates were on the move and established hierarchies were shifting away from vocal music towards instrumental music: away from the polyphonic complexities of a cappella ensemble or choral music towards the utterly different hierarchy of a top line and a bass line, both instrumental, with, crudely, a filling in the middle. It was a revolution: music was moving into the Baroque era. This beautifully assembled set of Baroque pearls – divinely played by Rachel Podger, the doyenne of Baroque violinists, along with her collaborators Marcin Swiatkiewicz on harpsichord and organ, and Daniele Caminiti on theorbo – catches that moment of change in wonderfully light, expressive, mercurial performances of music by composers such as Frescobaldi and Gabrieli, along with names unknown, including Isabella Leonarda, a nun who lived in a convent, churning out over 200 compositions. It’s fascinating, immediately appealing stuff, terrific variety within the pieces and, audibly, all the seed elements of the Baroque Suite to come.

Audiophile Audition

A regal unearthing of some sensational music. (…) all of these pieces are deserving of a hearing, whether famous or not, and Podger has done us a great service in presenting them in such sterling surround sound, performed to perfection.

Classical Ear (Mark Walker)

(…) The violin with its voice-like expressive potential proved to be the ideal vehicle for almost forgotten composers. (…) Podger is perfectly at home in this intimate and lyrical music, her playing nuanced and free; Swiatkiewicz and Caminiti provide imaginative support.

Nederlands Dagblad 5 out of 5

(…) Gorgeous is the way she exposes ornaments. (…) She knows how to fully convince.

Gramophone, Editors Choice

‘Rich Baroque colour – from the music, interpretation and the instruments themselves – surprises and delights throughout, as does the playing’s joyful vibrancy.’
(…) Podger’s pure tone and expressive bowing are well complemented by Marcin Swiatkiewicz’s bright, pungent copy of an Italian harpsichord from the early 1600s and Daniele Caminiti’s imaginative theorbo-playing.


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