Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
CD 1
Sonata for Cello and Keyboard No.1 BWV1027 (c.1720) [14:11]
Sonata for Cello and Keyboard No.2 BWV1028 (c.1720) [14:24]
Sonata for Cello and Keyboard No.3 BWV1029 (c.1720) [14:16]
CD 2
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Six Sonatas for Cello and Harpsichord; No 1 [9:28]: No.2 [8:59]: No.3 [9:40]: No.4 [9:59]: No.5 [9:03]: No.6 [9:41]
Antonio Janigro (cello)
Robert Veyron-Lacroix (harpsichord)
rec. 1956, Mozartsaal, Vienna
FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR494/95 [42:55 + 56:53]

Of the two musicians who recorded these sonatas it’s Antonio Janigro (1918-1989) who is the better remembered. Partly this is because he had a wider career, partly also because of the longevity of some of his LP recordings and their reinstatement – some of them at least – on CD. It helped that he diversified as a conductor, directing I Solisti di Zagreb, and recording for Vanguard. But Robert Veyron-Lacroix (1922-1991) was a distinguished musician too. As a harpsichordist he was primarily a soloist and chamber musician, and as a recording artist it’s the work of early music for which he will be best remembered. Assiduous collectors however will know that he didn’t ignore Poulenc, and he often performed Milhaud and Françaix amongst others of his contemporaries. Others will know of his long-time collaboration in concert and on disc with Jean-Pierre Rampal.

Veyron-Lacroix also re-recorded these Bach viola da gamba - or more commonly these days on disc cello - sonatas, with Tortelier. But back in 1956 at the Mozartsaal in Vienna he recorded 100 minutes’ worth of disc time with Janigro. That works out as a handy if somewhat poor value (time-wise) twofer from Forgotten Records, a label always on the scent of superior LP material from the Golden Days of the 1950s. The first disc is all-Bach, the second all-Vivaldi.

Janigro’s warmly vibrated playing is matched by Veyron-Lacroix’s often very bright registrations to produce sympathetic, legato-conscious performances. Fast movements aren’t overstressed, and whilst slow ones are relaxed they’re not at all supine. One can admire Janigro’s richly broad tone, and its associated use of portamenti and other inflective devices, all of which keep the ear keenly waiting. He can ensure that the tonal reserves he employs do turn lean and focused too, as in the Allegro ma on tanto of the First Sonata, though he could perhaps have lightened that tone and played with more terpsichorean vitality in something like the Andante of the Second sonata. Sometimes this kind of romantic playing can sound rather unrelieved. Both play the delicious passage in the allegro finale of the Second sonata very well; especially where the cello supports the harpsichord with off-beat pizzicati, like a jazz bassist.

The harpsichordist realized the bass figures in the Vivaldi sonatas. These performances are expressive, warm toned and reach heights in the Largo of the Second sonata. The fast movements embody what I can best describe as modified high spirits. Occasionally one might want a crisper sense of articulation, as there were times in his recorded career when Janigro could be a touch inert. Still, these are very good performances of their type, well recorded, the harpsichord less twinkling in its articulation than in the Bach sonatas.

There are no notes, as usual from this company, but the web links on the jewel box will keep you busy with matters biographical.

Jonathan Woolf

Sympathetic, legato-conscious performances.