Although authors such as the abbe Ranieri Capponi, Niccolò Susier, Nicola Romaldi, Giovanni Pietro Sesto of Trento or Francesco Piccone at present they are not as well known by the general public as Vivaldi, Bach o Handel, his work is worth rescuing from oblivion as it is authentic jewels of the Baroque. Is what they have done Juan Carlos Muñoz and Mari Fe Pavón, founding members of the famous Artemandoline group that, with its original instruments, They have been giving new life to the repertoire of the baroque mandolin in all its expressions. In Italian Baroque Mandolin Sonatas, his new album, both review masterpieces of the aforementioned composers contributing, Besides, first world recordings of five works never before released on CD.

The repertoire of the album, product of years of musicological research, belongs to a very fertile period in the history of the instrument and the sonata form. At the time of the Baroque, the mandolin was in full swing and many musicians were interested in exploring the new means of expression that they offered., consolidating a great aesthetic refinement thanks to the full development of the interpretive technique.

The Italian sonata, that reaches its peak in this period, it is the form that predominates in an album that takes place between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries focused on creators who turned out to be authentic precursors of both form and interpretive technique. “As we approached the mandolin sonatas in this recording, we were immediately seduced by their high quality of writing., its variety and its joyous side ", says Juan Carlos Muñoz. The sonatas are lively and infused with contrasting movements, marked by changes of character and tempo ".

These are compositions of great freedom in the structure, "Aspect that, as interpreters, it also leaves us very free in interpretation ", Mari Fe Pavón points out. “The frequent use of ostinato bass patterns allows a more creative way of playing that highlights in the performance the search for colors as a mode of expression. In relation to the possibilities of articulation, changes of tempi and shades, can, in this music, transcribe affections and emotions opening a direct path to the heart of the public ". Juan Carlos Muñoz also points out that “the colors sought are not due to chance, because our goal is that sonatas always win in novelty and freshness. The continuous bass, in this sense, allowed many variations on instruments such as the harpsichord, organ, cello, tiorba, guitar and violone ".

To better understand the tradition of the Italian sonata and identify the stylistic features of the instrumental repertoire, “you have to know how to appreciate the contribution of composers like Capponi, Romaldi, Trento or Susier, too often relegated to the background compared to the composers of that time ", explains Mari Fe Pavón. “These are musicians who with their work contributed to the compositional model of the sonata from the early 18th century, an independent genre in the musical life of the time that became an integral part of courtly entertainment ".

Italian Baroque Mandolin Sonatas proposes an ambitious and fascinating program that walks through the best of the baroque mandolin creation of the time, stopping above all in such important production centers as Florence and Rome.

With his most recent album, Venice’s Fragrance, recorded with soprano Núria Rial, Artemandoline has achieved a nomination for the International Classical Music Awards 2021.



The most unknown musical Venice of the 17th century is reborn in Venice’s Fragrance, the last album of the acclaimed set Artemandoline, in which voice and mandolin dialogue in jewels scrupulously chosen by Juan Carlos Muñoz and Mari Fe Pavón, bringing new life to brilliant writing, of great contrasts and bringing to the present the best of Venetian baroque. With almost two decades of experience in the most select circuit of early music, The Artemandoline string ensemble was founded by Juan Carlos Muñoz and Mari Fe Pavón with the purpose of recreating, with original instruments and philological criteria, works of the past drinking from original sources. In a continuous search for forgotten scores, they try to recover and update the beauty of the repertoire offered by the baroque mandolin and the different plucked string instruments of the time, both alone and combined with the human voice. And for this there is no better vehicle than that of 17th century Venetian music. The city of canals, Baroque cultural and intellectual center par excellence, at the time attracted the greatest creators, and for this reason Venice’s Fragrance includes pieces of absolute excellence selected from operas and oratorios, as well as instrumental music, of authors like Traetta, Galuppi, Lots, Conti, Manna, Arrigoni or the famous Antonio Vivaldi.

Artemandoline, in a heads-up with the soprano Nuria Rial - who participates in six of the 17 pieces of the disc–, has already obtained excellent evaluations of this work, such as the ACTUAL OPERA Selection label granted by the Spanish magazine specialized in vocal music and which highlights both the virtuosity of the singer and the ensemble. Rial, with a brilliant international career, is a renowned specialist in the repertoire and has more than 15 years rubbing shoulders with the best directors and ensembles of the international baroque, in addition to having developed a prolific recording career. The exquisite musical proposal of Venice’s Fragrance is having a great acceptance on the Central European circuit by offering itself in concert, evenings that usually end with the audience standing applauding this surprising repertoire. The album will be presented soon with performances at the Bern Zentrum Paul Klee and at festivals such as Münster Barock, Mainz Music Summer o el 1001 Limoges nights. “It is a music that seduces with its spirit and its perfect balance of virtuosity, fervor, theatricality and wealth, stamps in which the mandolin has a privileged place”, Juan Carlos Muñoz affirms regarding the content of Venice’s Fragrance, while Mari Fe Pavón assures that the pieces reflect "the character of the Italian baroque, in which celebrations abounded, the fireworks, the masks, the magnificence, etc.; our ambition is clear: through the live concerts and the album, we try to extract from these unique pieces the emotion, humanity and modernity capable of seducing today's public”. For both Spanish musicians living in Luxembourg, the music known as “old” does not belong only to the past nor is it an exclusive treasure for a privileged and erudite elite, “since it has a timeless and universal value that finds its place today; it is up to all of us to get this idea to the public”, concludes Juan Carlos Muñoz. Nuria Rial, winner of several awards in central europe for her discography, collaborates with Artemandoline again on this new CD after the excellent reception they obtained in their previous joint work, Sosopiri of lovers (2015).


Nuria Rial