G. B. Sammartini: Harpsichord Sonatas

Simonetta Heger
Dynamic CDS7841

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Sammartini was a prolific composer, known primarily for his symphonies and operas which helped nudge music toward the Classical style. His considerable chamber output includes nearly forty solo keyboard sonatas which have hitherto been rather neglected. Those recorded on this CD are found in manuscript sources covering much of the composer’s life and mirror his stylistic developments from the 1720s up to the 1760s. They have just one movement and generally follow the same form as Domenico Scarlatti’s sonatas, with two sections, two or more themes, and a certain amount of development before a loose recapitulation. Almost all are in major keys and there is a certain sameness about Sammartini’s use of figuration, but there is some considerable variety in the music presented here. Heger plays on a copy of a 1720 Christian Vater instrument built by Carlo Mascheroni which is closely recorded in a chamber-type acoustic and well suited to the music. She is a sympathetic, if somewhat safe, interpreter: I would have welcomed some more flamboyance and excitement in the playing. Tempi are solid but the momentum does slip now and then. That said, it is good to have these works available and it makes a useful collection to dip into and to compare with other keyboard music from these decades. 

Noel O’Regan

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