Platti 6 Sonatas for Cello

Rare music from Würzburg reveals an effortless melodic gift

Author: 
Iain Fenlon

Platti 6 Sonatas for Cello

  • (6) Sonatas for Cello and Basso Continuo

The six sonatas on this recording are a real rarity. Platti, whose father played in the orchestra of St Mark’s Basilica in Venice, spent most of his life at the court of the Schönborn prince-archbishops in Würzburg as a sort of musical general practitioner; in addition to playing a number of string instruments, he also sang and played the oboe, flute and harpsichord. And if that were not enough, he also composed in a wide variety of styles and genres including a cappella Masses, an opera based on the Arianna story and a number of oratorios.

In the end though, it is instrumental music that lies at the heart of his output, most of which still remains in manuscript in Würzburg. Although some of it was presumably written for Platti himself to perform, the many works for solo cello that he composed undoubtedly reflect the passionate enthusiasm for the instrument of one of the Schönborn princes. The sonatas for cello and basso continuo (the latter here imaginatively and sensitively realised on lute and theorbo by Axel Wolf) show Platti to have been a more interesting composer than might be thought. All six are conventional enough in their adherence to a four-movement slow-fast-slow-fast structure, but the real surprise comes in Platti’s seemingly effortless and endless melodic invention. They are given here by Sebastian Hess in elegant and beautifully shaped performances which range from steely virtuosity in the fast passagework to warm-toned lyricism in the slow movements. Fine advocacy for some hidden gems.

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