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These thoughtful accounts of comparatively neglected cello sonatas from two roughly contemporary Italian composers follow in the wake of Sebastian Hess’ two other discs of Piatti’s music. In this issue, supplemented with three Vivaldi sonatas preserved in the Schönborn-Wiesentheid collection, Hess displays not only an assured technique but also a strong sense of line. He is more expansively expressive in Vivaldi’s works and achieves a striking emotional intensity in the melancholy slow movements. He tackles the fast movements with energy, athleticism and occasionally over- exaggerated attack, and his accounts of the various dance-inspired movements are largely genially vigorous. Throughout, Hess is well supported by Axel Wolf, whose discreet, yet imaginative lute/ theorbo continuo complements him well, offering him flexibility of pulse and sometimes even driving the music along. Despite their minimalist instrumentarium, these players create a remarkable diversity of colour and texture, but some detail is regrettably lost in the balance.

Robin Stowell Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing