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Geminiani: Sonatas for Violoncello

#alttext# Les Basses Réunies performs sonatas by Francesco Geminiani on Alpha. I've reviewed his concerti grossi here before, and here. The composer isn't particularly well-known for his own music, but his efforts towards re-doing the work of Corelli. This recording by Bruno Cocset and company reminds me in parts of the playing by Roel Dieltiens, a rather romantic sounding baroque cello, resounding with a boomy acoustic. In this collection, Geminiani has his own voice, that despite his study of Corelli, has a rather forward-sounding flavor, more germane to his time period. The sonata in F major has this flavor down pat. Scored for cello and continuo, it's far more melodic than something by Vivaldi, as a point of comparison. Yet, it's not only just melody, there's plenty to keep the fingers busy. Musically, it isn't too interesting music, however well it's played. The sonata in A major is of much the same flavor, an all around good-mood piece that lacks anything from the halls of profundity. It'd make perfect Tafelmusik. At times the recording is a bit too live and muddled. The mike placement for this one is different. Geminiani seems to be a better composer of minor pieces; both his D minor and A minor works I found were musically more interesting, despite having some of the same filigree as the major-moded examples. It's remarkable how the sound changes on this recording from one sonata to the next. The opening work, in C major, captures Cocset's articulation beautifully, recalling the sound on his recording of the Bach solo suites. Les Basses this time around play well, despite some unevenness in the recording (my gripes likely are less pronounced using loudspeakers, over the headphones). And while Geminiani's music has a melodic originality, the melodies aren't of particular stellar quality that these are singable tunes. Instead, the works reveal Geminiani has a composer stuck between musical styles, struggling to find his own voice. While consistency is found among these works, I feel they must ultimately be more fun to play than to study or listen to with any degree of intensity. By any means, this isn't a must-have.

Vivaldi: Concerti per fagotto

Bach Lute Works, volume 1