John J. Puccio reviews Tekla Cunningham and Pacific MusicWorks’ Stylus Phantasticus recording on Classical Candor:
“the compositions follow a pattern of earliest to later music, with the earlier ones a bit less ornate. The Carlo Farina sonata, for instance, is almost sedate in its execution. Its subtitle, “detta la Desperata,” translates as “called the despairing,” an emotional piece if rather despondent in tone. MusicWorks provide it with an appropriately passionate melancholy. The harp and harpsichord are especially appealing.
Following the Farina sonata is the oldest example of stylus phantasticus on the disc, Giovanni de Macque’s little “Toccata” for baroque harp. It’s deceptively simple and beautifully played. The next selection, Uccellini’s “La Luciminia contenta,” takes the style further, being livelier and even more expressive than the preceding pieces.
And so it goes. The tunes show wit, compassion, virtuosity, lyricism, reflection, and an ever-changing spectrum of colors, phrasing, and articulation. Moreover, the performances are immaculate and committed. It makes for engaging and highly addictive listening.—John J Puccio, Classical Candor