Johann Jakob Walther: Scherzi da violino (2 CDs)

Johann Jakob Walther was one of the most significant violinists in Germany in the generation before J.S. Bach, and Bojan Čičić believes his music should be essential listening for anyone seeking a fuller understanding of Bach’s polyphonic writing for the instrument.

Having built their reputation with a series of Delphian recordings focussing on ‘missing link’ composers, Čičić and his Illyria Consort are passionate about bringing Walther’s collection of Scherzi da violino to the wider audience it deserves.

This first complete recording displays the sheer ambition of Walther’s opus, with highlights including his demonstration of the violin’s polyphonic potential in the D major sonata (No. III); the joyful playfulness of the end of No. IV; the inventiveness of the Imitatione del cuccu; and – Bojan Čičić’s personal favourite – the dramatic melancholy of the final Aria in E minor.

'Giovanni Giornovich to Giovanni Stefano Carbonelli, Bojan Čičić and The Illyria Consort have made a point of championing the under-sung ... Čičić makes light work of Walther’s virtuosic gauntlet, audaciously secure in the triple and quadruple stopping that punctuates passages drawing on elaborate bowing and left-hand techniques. And he enjoys a close rapport with his continuo of bass viol, theorbo and keyboards. The ‘phantasticus’ flights of fancy could sometimes sound a touch more fantastical perhaps, but Čičić’s clean, clearly-articulated playing reveals a composer who has languished in the shadow of Biber and Schmelzer for too long'

★ ★ ★ ★

"Walther offers satisfying opportunities for virtuosic display, technical prowess and improvised ornementation - at least for a player with Cicic's silky skills ... I love this excellent music from a 'missing link' composer before Bach, and fabulous playing - four first recordings as well"


"An immaculately played recital of music by a Baroque violin innovator"

"Bojan Čičić takes everything that is thrown at him comfortably in his stride, seasoning his Tononi’s slender sound with tastefully varied vibrato ... His imaginative embellishments are a joy throughout this beautifully produced set, as is the kaleidoscopic realisation of the continuo by the Illyria Consort"

'Cicic makes it sound so easy: a boyish nonchalance characterises many of these performances, and this is mostly very attractive ... The Sarabande and Gigue from the Suite in A are delightful: aerated and animated, and phrased with the uncluttered clarity of a Japanese garden. Cicic has mastered the illusion of musician as conduit - the music just seems to pour out of him, and his playing conveys that he has to do very little to make it work so well. Excellent and always stylish ornementation is the most obvious evidence of this - there's not even the trace of wet ink in these embellishments: rather, they are thrown out as corporeal gestures - a flick of the hair here, a shrug of the shoulders there - and it's enviously spontaneous and carefree ... Listen closer and the whole thing is electrified with a subtle spark, the harmonies fired through with an extremely clever level of tension ... This is the boldest and most heartfelt playing ... '

“What a range of musical invention is on display in this extraordinary set of twelve Scherzi, published in Dresden in 1676: mixing sacred and secular influences to great effect, Walther exploits the instrument's technical capabilities to the max, and Čičić rises to the challenge with his customary understated virtuosity and distinctive sweetness of tone. The playful 'Imitatione del cuccu' of No. 10 is especially beguilingly done"


Release Date: 26 August 2022
Catalogue No: DCD34294
Total playing time CD 1: 51:00
Total playing time CD 2: 49:48

Recorded on 26-30 July 2021 in St Martin’s Church, East Woodhay, Hampshire
Producer/Engineer: Paul Baxter
24-bit digital editing: Jack Davis
24-bit digital mastering: Paul Baxter

Design: Drew Padrutt
Booklet editor: Henry Howard
Session photography: foxbrushfilms.com


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Sonata in C major: vi - Allegro II

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Filmed during recording sessions, Bojan performs Walther's "Cucu" Sonata ...

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