Opera composer Domenico Cimarosa wrote nearly 90 keyboard sonatas that, until the late twentieth century, were ignored by musicologists as well as performers. It is easy to understand why, when they are compared to contemporary works by Mozart and Haydn. Cimarosa stuck to the one-movement sonata form that was used by Domenico Scarlatti. There is some evidence that Cimarosa considered using the three-movement structure, but no such sonata by him has been found, nor has there been found any indication that some of the single movements should be combined in such a way.
Of course, the listener can tell the Handel Suites played by Andrei Gavrilov from the Handel Suites played by Sviatoslav Richter. Gavrilov's Suites are superbly played, thoughtfully performed, and persuasively interpreted. Richter's Suites, however, are supremely well played, penetratingly performed, and profoundly interpreted. Gavrilov's Suites are among the best recordings of the Suites ever made, catching the works' playfulness and seriousness, their sense of intimacy, and their sense of entertainment.
This two-disc set of Handel's Suites performed by Andrei Gavrilov and Sviatoslav Richter is just as good as their other two-disc set of Handel's Suites but with one big advantage. Here as there, Handel's Suites are models of wit, sensitivity, affection and virtuosity. Here as there, Gavrilov's performances are fluent, muscular, and persuasive and Richter's performances are supremely expressive, wonderfully supple, and overwhelmingly commanding.
Originally recorded for the small Music Masters label in the early '90s, this set of Bach's keyboard concertos was among a series of choice Music Masters items reissued by Nimbus late in the first decade of the 21st century. The Russians have never been known for Bach, but this is a solid traversal that can be recommended to anyone wanting to hear these concertos on a piano accompanied by modern instruments. Despite these forces, there is a good deal of influence from the British historical-instrument movement apparent here; the crisp string playing avoids any hint of Romantic sheen, and Feltsman is very subtle in his introduction of purely pianistic elements. The long notes in the slow movements tend to be just a bit more extended than would be possible on a harpsichord, and Feltsman thus creates a smooth, pearly texture that's quite lyrical. In several of the finales he pushes the tempo to high speeds, creating an entirely different effect on a piano that the music would have on a harpsichord.
Red Byrd is certainly among the most unusual ensembles before the public today: at its core are two singers, a tenor and bass, who typically engage the services of other vocalists or choral groups, and/or employ the accompaniment of various instrumentalists or instrumental ensembles. It has performed much early music repertory both in concert, including festival appearances, and on recordings.
The music of Orlando Gibbons represents the English response to radical changes that stemmed largely from Italy in the age of the birth of opera and a move away from the contrapunctal complexities of previous centuries. Whereas the Italian tended to write gradiose and radical works such of those by Monteverdi, the English tended to write music that was stylistically old-fashioned by the standards of the times, unostentatious with its preference for the sounds of the viol consort that helped make it so intimately poetic and evocative.