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Juliana Soltis’ impeccably researched journey exploring the arrival of the baroque cello (‘Le Diable’) in France opens with the composer with whom it all began: Neapolitan Salvatore Lanzetti, who brought the instrument to the French Concert Spirituel. His Sonata Op 1/8 begins questingly, encapsulating the very spirit of the times, while the eloquence of the central Adagio speaks volumes about the instrument’s expressive spectrum. Ably supported by viola da gamba, theorbo and harpsichord, Soltis presents a stunning case.

Martin Berteau’s charming, decorous offering (Op 1/3) is notable for the gentle use of harmonics in its finale. François Martin’s Sonata Op 2/4 also utilises harmonics as well as asking for a pedal tone to be stopped with the player’s chin. Finally, two sonatas by virtuoso Jean-Baptiste Barrière round offthe release, one overtly French in ornamentation, the second more restrained.

Soltis is a clear virtuoso; the recording is beyond criticism. A stunning release.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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