Flying Forms — Image via flyingforms.org

Platti Trio Sonatas

Flying Forms

I will be the first to admit that I have not spent a great deal of time with the music of the baroque era — and what time I have spent has largely been with Bach, plus occasional forays into Handel, Vivaldi, and Scarlatti. In that, I don’t think I’m alone. After all, it would take months just to listen to the complete works of those four. But of course there were many other composers writing during the period, often just as voluminously, and thankfully there is a community of baroque specialists prepared to do the work of searching through all those scores to find pieces that are worth reviving and presenting to the public.

Among those, I now know, are the trio sonatas of Giovanni Benedetto Platti, four of which the Saint Paul-based baroque ensemble Flying Forms performed at a lunchtime concert on Friday. (They will perform those four and another two at a concert this evening.) Platti was a singer, oboist, and violinist who, being about a decade younger than Bach and Handel, represents the tail end of the baroque period. At that time, while composers were still working within established genres and forms, they were starting to look for more direct means of expression.

Tulio Rondón — Image via trcello.comFor these concerts, the core members of Flying Forms — baroque violinist Marc Levine and harpsichordist Tami Morse — are joined by baroque cellist Tulio Rondón. Platti’s sonatas are unusual for the time in that they give an independent and sometimes leading role to the cello, anticipating the piano trio as developed by Mozart and Beethoven. Playing at their home venue, the intimate Baroque Room, the group gave transparent and balanced performances that drew out what was unique about each piece.

Of the four sonatas played on Friday, no two were quite alike, but all featured inventive takes on traditional forms, with bubbly fast movements and expressive slow movements. Especially notable was the second piece in the set, which included a beautiful siciliana movement leading into an energetic closing fugue. All told, tonight’s performance comes highly recommended. And for anyone who misses it, there will be one more opportunity to hear Flying Forms play one of Platti’s trios as their contribution to next Saturday’s Saint Paul Classical Music Crawl.

Flying Forms photo by Murat Eyoboglu

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Eric Prindle

administers Bad Entertainment. He is also an attorney who leads a team of legal marketing copywriters at FindLaw. He is not Eric Prindle, the mixed martial arts fighter.