These little sonatas by Domenico Cimarosa were originally written for the fortepiano; they are transcribed for guitar here by the present performer, Claudio Giuliani. They're a bit unusual to hear on guitar, an instrument historically associated with an individual performer's virtuosity: these pieces are technically simple, playable by an advanced beginner on either instrument. Yet Giuliani's recording is welcome. This isn't familiar music in any setting, and these are delightful miniatures, among the few examples of music of the late 18th century that shows little influence from either Haydn or Mozart. They stand outside the whole line of development of pieces called sonatas. Each one poses itself a little formal problem and solves it, departing from and returning to its tonic key through a unique coordination of harmonic motion (without recourse to chromatic harmony) and thematic material. The combination of extreme technical simplicity and formal sophistication draws the listener into what might at first seem an undifferentiated series of short pieces. Sample the Sonata in G minor, C. 22 (track 14) for a demonstration of Cimarosa's melodic economy, on a par with Bartók's Mikrokosmos pieces, and for Giuliani's clean playing, which gives these deceptive finds their full measure of worth. Dutch label Brilliant Classics, not known for audiophile engineering, delivers fine guitar sonics here from a studio in Rome.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim