Boismortier: Suite for Harpsichord in C minor, Op. 59/1; Bassoon Sonatas, Op. 26/5 & Op. 50/4; Oboe Sonata, Op. 27/1; Sonatas for Harpsichord and Flute, Op. 91/2 & 4

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COMPOSERS: Boismortier
LABELS: Meridian
WORKS: Suite for Harpsichord in C minor, Op. 59/1; Bassoon Sonatas, Op. 26/5 & Op. 50/4; Oboe Sonata, Op. 27/1; Sonatas for Harpsichord and Flute, Op. 91/2 & 4
PERFORMER: Badinage
CATALOGUE NO: CDE 84335
Meridian’s collection of sonatas and movements by Italian composers from the 16th to the 18th centuries includes some familiar names, but it’s the more obscure composers that make this disc memorable. Radino’s Four Gagliarda for recorder and harpsichord conjure up raucous courtly dances with their swinging cross rhythms and modal harmonies. Bariolla’s Canzon is made up of a seamless stream of melodic snippets interwoven with superb precision by Terence Charlston on harpsichord. Although Ashley Solomon seems a much freer spirit on recorder than on flute, the soft texture created by the instrumental combination of organ, wooden flute and cello in the Barsanti is a welcome contrast to the sometimes penetrating sounds of harpsichord and recorder.

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Badinage continues to explore chamber music from the Baroque period with its inimitable verve in this disc of early 18th-century sonatas by Frenchman Boismortier. It’s great to hear more recordings of Baroque music for bassoon. Paul Carroll shows particular flair on this intriguing instrument, but his expertise extends to flute and oboe. Boismortier is perfect for the short attention span of the Nineties: the average timing for his movements is under three minutes, and he constantly alternates rapid, perky Gigues with melancholic Gracieusements or more majestic Gravements and Allemandes. Kate Sherriff