Carbonelli's Sonate da camera a violino e violone o cembalo are heavily indebted to Corelli's Op. 5, as their title already suggests, but Valentini, Albinoni and Vivaldi (among individual composers) and the native idiom of England are other potent influences. Notwithstanding the title chosen for the set, the first six works can be classified as 'church' rather than 'chamber' sonatas by virtue of containing an elaborate fugue as second movement, but all twelve sonatas, which are mostly in four movements, contain a judicious mixture of dance-inspired and 'abstract' movements. The violinistic technique demanded by Carbonelli is certainly advanced, but always placed at the service of musical expression. His handling of counterpoint is outstanding (and not only in the fugues), his thematic invention strong, and his command of musical form peerless. Not even Geminiani and Veracini, among his compatriots working in England, produced violin music of equal originality and expressiveness.
Talbot makes out a good case for Carbonelli's sonatas in the introduction, rightly praising their seriousness and artistic ambition, their 'stylistic richness' (drawing on Valentini, Albinoni and Vivaldi as well as Corelli, the main model), and their 'command of musical form, with logical development and skilful combination of memorable musical ideas'. Playing through them I was struck by the balance struck between the considerable technical demands of the solo part and the rich harmonic implications of the carefully figured continuo part. Even prominent early eighteenth-century composers sometimes found it difficult to write convincingly in only two parts, but it is a test that Carbonelli passes with flying colours.
It is good to report that the edition is worthy of the music. It is clearly and elegantly printed, with the continuo figures included in the bass part (allowing performances in which the cellist replaces the keyboard by adding chords), and with a sturdy ring-bound score that sits flat on a music desk.
Peter Holman in Early Music Performer