John Garth was no CPE Bach, certainly, yet there is a period flavored freshness and vivacity to these works, as nicely performed by the Avison Ensemble with Gary Cooper as keyboard soloist on the harpsichord, early fortepiano and organ.
He is chiefly known for these works, the cello concertos and a few similar pieces, much of it available on Divine Arts as played by this ensemble.
What it certainly does is opens you up to the lesser-known English composers of the era. John Garth was no slouch. On these sonatas the keyboard part is far more the out front, virtuoso vehicle for Garth's ideas. The two violins and cello that form a part of the music have the role chiefly of reinforcing the accompaniment figures and seconding the solo melodic line. This is more rococo and jaunty than deeply contrapuntal or gravitas. That was the age and he excelled at the rather happy extroversion of his times.
The individual tang of early pianoforte instruments, harpsichord and organ help individualize each sonata and give it character. The ensemble plays these pieces with enthusiasm, an infectious sort. I found myself listening with pleasure each time.
Anglophiles of the music of this period will respond readily. But I suspect anyone with an interest and appreciation for the earlier forms will feel positively about the program and its performance. Good show!
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