Ophélie Gaillard

Vivaldi: Complete Cello Sonatas [2 CDs+DVD]

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While there are others comparisons that could be made, the first and most obvious comparison that comes to mind when faced with French cellist Ophélie Gaillard's 2006 recording of Vivaldi's complete cello sonatas is Canadian cellist Ofra Harnoy's 1994 recording of the same works. The hot young cellist of the last years of the twentieth century, Harnoy's Vivaldi performances have not aged well -- interpretations that once seemed forgivably impulsive now seem unforgivably self-indulgent. The hot young cellist of the early years of the twenty first century, Gaillard's Vivaldi performances, however, sound like they'll be better able to stand the test of time. Gaillard's tone is not nearly as opulent as Harnoy's, but it's still full, deep, and warm, while Gaillard's technique is much more polished than Harnoy's and her interpretations seem far more about the music and far less about the performer. Where Harnoy's heightened expressivity draws attention to itself, Gaillard's concentrated intensity goes right to the heart of Vivaldi's soulful cello sonatas. Accompanied by the exquisite colorful Pulcinella, a six-member continuo ensemble complete with guitar and harp, Gaillard's performances are arguably as good as it gets in this repertoire and well worth hearing by anyone who loves Vivaldi or great cello performances. Naïve's recordings are ideally balanced and amazingly realistic.

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