BBC Music Magazine - - Chamber -

Sonatas for Cello and Basso Con­tinuo, RV 40, 41, 43, 45-47

Jean-gui­hen Queyras,

Christoph Dan­gel (cello),

Lee San­tana (the­o­rbo), Michael Behringer (harp­si­chord, or­gan) Har­mo­nia Mundi HMM 902278 71:11 mins Vi­valdi seems to have held the cello in par­tic­u­lar af­fec­tion. Over 25 con­cer­tos for the in­stru­ment as well as nine sonatas with con­tinuo pro­vide am­ple and re­ward­ing tes­ta­ment. This record­ing by Jean­gui­hen Queyras fea­tures the six cello sonatas which were pub­lished in Paris in 1740, ap­par­ently with­out the com­poser’s knowl­edge and er­ro­neously iden­ti­fied as his Op. 13.

They are, with­out ex­cep­tion, pieces of great charm, full of imag­i­na­tive flour­ishes and whose slow move­ments, fre­quently re­veal Vi­valdi’s sen­si­bil­ity to the ex­pres­sive cantabile pos­si­bil­i­ties af­forded by the cello. In­deed, few Baroque com­posers other than Bach and per­haps Gem­ini­ani re­alised the in­stru­ment’s solo po­ten­tial bet­ter than he.

Queyras re­sponds on the one hand to the mu­sic with ex­tro­vert vigour, as in the first Al­le­gro of the A mi­nor Sonata, or on the other hand with a poignant lyri­cism, if a lit­tle too brisk, that is req­ui­site for the se­cond Largo of the Sonata in E mi­nor. In these move­ments, as through­out, Queyras brings colour to his un­der­stand­ing of these splen­did pieces, sus­tain­ing Vi­valdi’s melodic con­tours with elo­quent bow­ing and an abil­ity to project their po­etry. ★is dy­namic range mir­rors the es­prit of the mu­sic and his or­na­men­ta­tion is gen­er­ally ju­di­cious and pleas­ingly de­void of empty ges­ture. Fol­low­ing to­day’s in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar fash­ion the con­tinuo group of­fers var­ied colours af­forded by harp­si­chord, or­gan, the­o­rbo and cello in fre­quently chang­ing con­fig­u­ra­tions. In short, I find Queyras and his con­fed­er­ates per­sua­sive and stylis­ti­cally en­light­ened ad­vo­cates for six Sonatas with which all lovers of the cello should be­come ac­quainted. Recorded sound is ideal and the book­let con­tains an in­ter­est­ing es­say and an in­ter­view with Queyras. Ni­cholas An­der­son PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★ RECORD­ING ★★★★

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