Johan Helmich Roman (1694–1758): Sonatas 1-5 for Flute and Basso Continuo, BeRI 201-205 Dan Laurin, recorder Paradiso Musicale (Anna Paradiso, harpsichord; Mats Olofsson, cello; Jonas Nordberg, baroque guitar)
In Stockholm during Johan Helmich Roman's lifetime, the recorder was the most common wind instrument, used throughout the social spectrum – including the Royal music establishment for which the composer was responsible. The transverse flute, on the other hand, was generally the preserve of the upper classes – the nobility and bourgeosie. Possibly this higher status contributed to Roman's choice of instrument for the set of XII Sonate a flauto traverso, violone e cembalo that he presented to Queen Ulrika Eleonora the Younger on her birthday in 1727. But that hasn't stopped the celebrated recorder player Dan Laurin to take up his countryman’s sonatas on his own instrument.
In a text included in the CD booklet, Laurin explains his fascination with Roman's music: 'complex emotional contexts are contrasted with folk music forms such as the villanella or piva – the music is asymmetrical, irregular and full of unexpected twists, sudden pauses and cadences.' In it, Laurin hears the influence of the Italian musicians that Roman met in London during his stay there 1715- 1721. Especially striking he finds Roman's affinity with the music of Naples – a music that challenged the stylistic ideals of the baroque. With his fellow musicians in Paradiso Musicale, Laurin therefore opts for an Italianate slant – different continuo settings, ranging from harpsichord alone to the full complement including baroque guitar, provide great variety in realizations characterized by bold and striking harmonizations.