The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Neapolitan Cello Concertos. Leo: Cello Concerto in D minor. Fiorenza: Cello Concerto in B flat major, Sinfonia. Majo: Cello Concerto in F major. Sollima: Fecit Neap. 17..
Techniques old and new come together on a disc of Baroque concertos
Sunday, 26 August 2012
Giovanni Sollima (cello) I Turchini/Antonio Florio
Leo, Fiorenza, Majo, Sollima
GLOSSA GCD 922604
Giovanni Sollima is the spirited, dexterous soloist in three Baroque Neapolitan cello concertos, in performances that unashamedly embrace stylistic plurality. His interpretations of the fast movements of concertos by Leonardo Leo, Nicola Fiorenza and Giuseppe de Majo display plenty of virtuosity and aggression, and he plays the slow movements with appropriate lyricism and affection. However, although some embellishing gestures are culled from period-instrument colleagues, much of the ornamentation suggests Sollima himself. Similarly, phrasing styles vacillate between ancient and modern, as does some of the content of Sollima’s cadenzas.
Sollima’s own concertante composition, Fecit Neap. 17.., complements these concertos, finding inspiration in past styles and techniques. It includes a continuo harpsichord, evolves from improvisation and mixes two contrasting moods, the first pensive and the second predominantly energetic, sometimes even folk-like. His performance has impressive panache, precision and artistry and never lacks drama, but overall the work seems to demand considerable effort for little reward.
Throughout, the contribution of the small string group is alert, articulate and commendably unanimous of ensemble and purpose, as is amply confirmed by its account of Fiorenza’s Sinfonia à 4 violini e basso continuo. The recording is vivid and full-bodied.
From the August 2012 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.