In this first volume Sonata No. 1, in E minor, opens with a lively movement full of motivic play between violin and continuo. It continues with a fleet corrente-style movement, then a slow movement followed by a delightful French-like gavotte with continuous running quavers in the bass. The piece ends with a kind of gigue in a strongly contrapuntal style.
Sonata No. 2, in F major, begins with a slowish movement (puzzlingly headed ‘Lentement et animé’) and is followed by a movement resembling an Italian allemanda, in which the bass viol (or cello) twice detaches itself from the continuo. Next comes a movement in the style of a slow air tendre, which is succeeded by a breezy giga-like movement and a concluding contrapuntal allegro that is almost, though not quite, a fugue.
Sonata No. 3, in B minor, opens with a slow, richly harmonized movement and continues with a quick movement in the style of the Italian concerto, which French composers had enthusiastically begun to imitate in the 1720s. A slow French sarabande follows, then a French gavotte enclosing an alternate section in B major, and the sonata ends with a vigorous contrapuntal gigue.
“The dynamic, contrapuntal final Vivement of Sonata no. 1 and the richly chromatic opening Lentement to Sonata no. 3 are especially fine, while the frequent juxtaposition of French and Italian conventions means that all of the music is fresh and inventive throughout. Edition HH’s characteristic hallmarks of usability and scholarly integrity are evident; the publishers continue to set a high technical and visual standard, and their admirable endeavours in seeking out neglected repertoire deserve every success.”