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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Platti, Cello Sonatas, Francesco Giulligioni, Members of L'Arte dell'Arco

If Giovanni Benedetti Platti (1697-1763) does not have his name inscribed in the immortal pantheon of luminary composers, in truth I find him nevertheless in his own way a Late Baroque Master quite worthy of our ear time, even if he is no Bach, exactly. Who is save Bach himself? That is another discussion.

My feelings are confirmed with a recent two-CD set of his Cello Sonatas (Brilliant 95763), as performed with zest by cellist Francesco Giulligioni and members of L'Arte dell'Arco. There is a fine sound to savor with a very gritty solo cello, bowing with fire on what sounds to be an instrument and bow from the era, plus a continuo that sometimes includes both harpsichord and organ, and all that sounds fine indeed. The second CD includes sonatas for cello and violone and harpsichord, sometimes the strings alone, sometimes the trio, but all intriguing as much for the sound timbres as for the notes themselves. Giulligioni bows like the devil, not as often like an angel and that is refreshing and vital to my ears. His sound is pretty, but pretty with an tempestuous exuberance that sounds anything but saccharine, or for that matter Romantic. It is not that at all and all the better for it.

There are 12 Sonatas in all, played quite well.

With the bargain Brilliant price this set is an essential for those who seek to understand Modern performance practices with original instrumental techniques as well as for any acolyte of the Italian legacy. Platti is very good and once you hear this program a few times it all comes together, at least that is my experience. Go for it! There is nothing to lose but your ignorance about the composer.

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