Geminiani - Alison McGillivray - The Whole Note (Toronto)

Geminiani's six Opus 5 cello sonatas dance with lightness and elegance throughout the recording by the hugely talented baroque cellist Alison McGillivray, and her group. This is a very different approach to cello playing, one that is thoroughly immersed in the early 18th century Italian style. Geminiani's already florid forms are expressed with such richness in embellishment that one can barely make one's way through them sometimes, and the colourful accompanying continuo - second baroque cello, harpsichord and the delightful strumming of a baroque guitar - make the music richer still. Interesting interludes, and a different way of hearing the music, are provided by Geminiani's own reworking for solo harpsichord of some of his pieces for violin or cello. Advice from the composer is printed in the jacket: "the performer...cannot fail to be [inspired] if he chooses a work of genius, if he makes himself thoroughly acquainted with all its beauties; and if while his imagination is warm and glowing he pours the same exhalted spirit into his own performance." That, indeed, is what McGillivray has done.

01 December 2005