But the Siprutini sonatas are not for the amateur or those who balk at technical challenges; these are enormously difficult works that far outstrip the Geminiani sonatas in difficulty. As Balázs Máté, the soloist, points out in the annotations, “through the use of the so-called thumb position, the range of the instrument was extended more and more towards the giddy heights of two and three-line registers, and almost all elements found in virtuoso violin technique (double-stops, harmonics, barriolage, etc.) appeared in cello music.” The first edition of these sonatas, dedicated to one Moses Frank, appeared sometime between 1775 and 1780. We know as little about the dedicatee as we do the composer, but from the flowery text on the printed edition, we can safely assume that Mr. Frank was a music-loving citizen of the English capital and that he also had some part in advancing Siprutini’s career. Each of these works follows the standard three-movement form that would mature into the Classical sonata with a fully developed A-B-A first movement, chock full of virtuoso-writing. The slow movements resemble songs in both construction and content, ranging in emotion from graceful and refined expressiveness to heartfelt sorrow. As for the finales, there is also much variety, from minuet and gigue to the traditional English country-dance.
The Fifth Sonata is particularly interesting, as its opening movement conjures an atmosphere of gaiety, followed by a sorrowful slow movement. With this lingering in the ear, the rollicking country-dance finale takes us completely by surprise. As one can glean from the heading, there is much variety in the choice of continuo instruments, but perhaps a bit too much. I suppose that I’m an old fuddy-duddy, but I find the practice of swapping instruments (harpsichord to organ, cello to double bass) within movements of the same sonata disconcerting, even though this may have been done. These are indeed impressive performances of fiendishly difficult works, played with confidence, astounding technique, and exceptional tonal purity. Máté seems to have successfully captured not only the appropriate style but also the essence of Siprutini’s music. In Máté’s hands, the cello—unmentioned by either name or year of construction in the annotations—sings sweetly, growls in mock-anger, and dances about with enviable ease. There is also some exceptionally fine and creative continuo realization provided by organist and harpsichordist Miklós Spányi. When I told a friend of mine who is a professional cellist about this disc, he ordered it, even though he was a bit leery. Several weeks later he wrote me, saying, “Where has this music been for all these years? This is great stuff! Now if I can only locate the music!” Enough said?
Michael Carter (source/font: aquí)
Gaudiu i compartiu!
PRESTOCLASSICAL: SIPRUTINI, E. - Six Solos for Violoncello with a Thorough Bass, Op. 7