Geminiani - Alison McGillivray - The Daily Telegraph

Connoisseurs of the Baroque solo cello repertoire will find this disc irresistible, as will anybody who appreciates fine 18th-century instrumental music superbly played. Geminiani's Op 5 Sonatas were published in Paris in 1746, at a time when the development of a flourishing Parisian school of cello-playing was undermining French musicians' long-standing preference for the viola da gamba. The cello thus established a distinctive identity as a fashionable solo instrument, and these sonatas show an understanding of its virtuoso technical possibilities and its powers of expression.

The slow movements sometimes overflow with tender melancholy or command the listener's attention with dramatic gestures and pregnant pauses, while the allegros include displays of sparkling passagework and captivating dance-like finales with a distinctly French flavour. Alison McGillivray's performances bring out all the music's innate elegance. Her warm, rich sound has a sunny autumnal maturity that seems entirely appropriate for a collection published when its 60-year-old composer was still at the height of his inventive powers, and clearly relishing the exciting possibilities of this glorious instrument.

01 August 2005