Giovanni Sollima

Friday, 03 January 2014

The five favourite tracks of the Italian cellist and composer

Antonio Janigro had a very intimate interpretation that comes across from the very first note

Handel Twelve Concerti Grossi op.6
Il Giardino Armonico

This incredible recording has inspired me a great deal. I’ve played with Il Giardino Armonico many times and here, the ensemble plays as though Handel’s music is a living organism – it feels so alive and fresh. My favourite part is the second movement of the Concerto Grosso no.2: there’s a great sense of motion and the recorded sound is spacious and natural.

Schubert Quintet in C major D956
Members of L’Archibudelli

I love the sound of gut strings and the hundreds of tonal colours that players can produce from them. This is a refreshing interpretation of the Schubert Quintet – not just technically or harmonically but in terms of the intensity of the playing. I tend to like what I call emotional recordings, and this is a particularly emotional performance. Anner Bylsma in particular plays music from the Romantic period with incredible virtuosity.

Strauss Don Quixote
Antonio Janigro (cello) Milton Preves (viola) John Weicher (violin) Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner

I studied with Antonio Janigro in Stuttgart and he told me how Fritz Reiner had heard him audition for this performance in 1959. He was still immensely proud that Reiner had chosen him over the many other cellists, and it was so sweet to hear this great maestro tell the story. Janigro had a very intimate interpretation that comes across from the very first note. It’s what I call a nostalgic form of phrasing, which harks back to an earlier period – around the first part of the 20th century.

Steve Reich Different Trains
Kronos Quartet

I love Steve Reich’s music and this piece has great impact and resonance. For me it’s like a combination of emotion and science – I’m put in mind of the most incredible architecture, and also the works of Leonardo da Vinci. It’s similar to how I feel when I play Bach – one can’t talk about mood, feeling happy or sad, but incredibly strong emotion all the same. The Kronos Quartet plays the work with just the right intonation, amount of vibrato and precise harmonics.

Bach Cello Suites BWV1007–12
Paolo Pandolfo (viola da gamba)

Paolo Pandolfo’s version of the Bach Suites is an amazing recording. In arranging them for viola da gamba I think he found some kind of bridge between Bach’s sound world and that of French composer Marin Marais. There’s a spirit of total freedom and an underlying knowledge and scholarship at the same time. Pandolfo is always open to finding new avenues, questions, ways of exploration, and his playing is always emotionally very beautiful.

From the January 2014 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.

 Photo: Gian Maria Musarra

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