Geminiani - Alison McGillivray - Early Music Review

Most people familiar with the name of Alison McGillivray possibly think of an intent, astute and sympathetic ‘accompanist' in the role of continuo player. I heard her once play a concerto with the Academy of Ancient Music and knew that there was a fresh solo voice in there, and this is quite clearly both a coming of age for the young artist and a fanfare of things to come as the new star of the generation starts to spread her wings. It's surprising that Geminiani's sonatas, though popular with cellists, seem to have avoided the record catalogues: they would appear to fall into that category of baroque music that needs that something special in terms of performance to lift them above the commonplace. Alison and her trio of co-conspirators have that something special in buckets. The notes are very interesting, shedding light on what might surprise some as the French influence on what most of us consider a very Italian master; but just in case you think it's all intended seriously, take a look at the ‘Subscriber's List' and you'll find Alison's sister ‘Violist d'amore, St Albans', and her loving father ‘Gardener, Giffnock'. Sense of humour aside, this is a fantastic solo debut and an equally impressive account of Geminiani's Op. 5 in various guises. I look forward to hearing lots more - and thanks to Linn Records for continuing their support of such innovative initiatives!

01 August 2005