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Geminiani - Alison McGillivray - The Dominion Post (Wellington, NZ)

26 August 2005
The Dominion Post (Wellington, NZ)
John Button
5 Stars

Francesco Geminiani was a fabulous violinist who wrote the germinal Art of Playing on the Violin, and he was a pupil of both Alessandro Scarlatti and the tremendously popular, and influential, Arcangelo Corelli. He was a restless traveller who spent time in London, Holland, Paris and Dublin. Indeed, in Dublin he owned a gallery, where he apparently gathered together a collection of paintings that included a number of Correggios and Caravaggios. He composed mostly for the violin, but his most commercial success was his reworking, as concerti grossi, of Corelli's Op 5 Violin Sonatas. His own Op 5, however, was a set of six cello sonatas. The baroque cello was, in the 1740s, beginning to take over from the viola da gamba, and this set, published in Paris in 1746, is a wonderful advertisement for the new instrument. The music is divine, and ideally suited to recording, particularly when played with the style, and sheer beauty of sound, as here by Alison McGillivray. She is supported superbly by her fellow musicians, and the harpsichord interludes, transcriptions by the composer from his Violin Sonatas played by David McGuinness, divide the cello sonatas to perfect effect. The sound is breathtakingly natural, making this a release that, while mandatory for baroque specialists, should be owned by all music lovers.
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Alison McGillivrayAlison McGillivray
Geminiani: Sonatas for Violoncello & Basso Continuo, Op. 5Geminiani: Sonatas for Violoncello & Basso Continuo, Op. 5