Johann Stamitz’s six Violin Sonatas op. 6 were first published following his death - which is hardly surprising, for who besides the composer himself would then have been able to meet their breakneck violinistic challenges? Stamitz was famous for his absolutely incredible finger dexterity, a reputation that this father of the German violin school continues to enjoy even today. Stephan Schardt not only has taken up this challenge but also delights and surprises the listener with an album brimming with perfect beauty and offering more than mere virtuosic stunts.
Here Michael Behringer’s highly imaginative continuo playing makes a significant contribution. Just magnificent – how he improvisationally negotiates the numerous violinistic curves, comments on them, and varies them without forcing his way into the foreground! This is late baroque duo playing at its absolute best and an impressive demonstration of the fact that Johann Stamitz, who in Mannheim catapulted orchestral music into a new sphere, was also a top name in chamber music.