An unerring flair brings these demanding sonatas to life

Kristin von der Goltz: Geminiani, Weiss

The Strad Issue: March 2024

Description: An unerring flair brings these demanding sonatas to life

Musicians: Kristin von der Goltz (cello) Andreas Küppers (harpsichord) Hille Perl (viola da gamba) Christoph Dangel (cello) Thomas Boysen (lute/theorbo)

Works: Geminiani: Six Sonatas for cello and basso continuo op.5. Weiss: Three Preludes for lute

Catalogue number: CPO 555402-2

Kristin von der Goltz shows striking mastery of the ‘fantastical’ technical challenges of Geminiani’s Allegro movements and offers lyrical, intuitively musical accounts overall, fully acknowledging the fusion of Italianate and French styles in these works. He consistently demonstrates that their soul lies beyond the printed page, shaping phrases thoughtfully and conveying the evolving dramas convincingly, as in no.5’s opening Adagio and the sharply contrasting first two movements of no.4.

His aim to differentiate between each sonata’s inherent ‘emotional state’ is admirably fulfilled, whether by adding extravagant ornamentation to the sometimes tortuous and unpredictable melodic lines (as in no.2), in ad libitum/fantasia passages (in the middle movements of no.4), or even simply by keeping the melodic line ‘plain’. Similar variety is applied in the continuo’s instrumental combinations and timbres, no.1’s third movement involving only gamba and no.3’s first Allegro only cello ‘accompaniment’.

Continuo cellist Christoph Dangel plays an especially important role in the dialogue, his contribution often crossing the solo line with strikingly sonorous effects, as in the middle section of no.6’s finale. The Three Preludes by Sylvius Weiss, flexibly realised by lutenist Thomas Boysen, anticipate the tonalities of sonatas nos.2, 3 and 5 but their inclusion seems somewhat random. The recording is luminous and sensitively balanced.