Giovanni Battista Cirri (1724-1808) and Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805) were both born in Italy; were both virtuoso cellists; worked extensively abroad (Cirri in England, Boccherini in Spain); and had a collection of six cello sonatas printed in London around 1775. But Italian-based Australian cellist Catherine Jones is surely right when she says that Cirri “is already composing in an early Classical style” while Boccherini “is a composer of the high Baroque.” To prove her point, she presents three sonatas from each, revealing the delight she shares with both composers in the cello’s technical and expressive capabilities.
Jones has previously recorded three Boccherini sonatas from the same collection while a student; the Cirri sonatas – Nos 3, 4 and 5 – are premiere recordings. Her light, responsive touch and pungent, mostly vibratoless tone perfectly match Boccherini’s playfulness, exuberant embellishment of repeated figures and his imitations of the strummed chords of the Spanish guitar, which are redolent of another Italian who worked in Spain, Domenico Scarlatti.
Jones, supported throughout by Nuti, McGillivray and Carter, also luxuriates in the rich sonorities of the drawn-out single and multiple-stopped tones. These characterise certain episodes in Boccherini’s music. Cirri’s, by contrast, display a Classical restraint. Highly recommended.