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Featured Album June 2024: George Ross & Alastair Ross "Father & Son"

Featured Album June 2024: George Ross & Alastair Ross "Father & Son"

A few weeks ago, our director attended the launch concert for the new album "Father & Son" by George Ross (cello) and Alastair Ross (harpsichord). He came back, CD in hand, and recommended we all take a listen. So, we decided to go one further and choose it for this month's Featured Album. Recently released on Deux-Elles Records, the disc is a detailed exploration of sonatas by Francesco Geminiani.

Father & Son
George Ross & Alastair Ross

OUR FEATURED ALBUM FOR JUNE 2024

Click here to order now!

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From the artists' press release:

Cellist George Ross studied at Royal College of Music in London where he encountered the baroque cello, receiving lessons from Richard Tunnicliffe, then pursued a Masters in historical cello at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague with Jaap ter Linden. In 2013, he founded the Consone Quartet which became the first period instrument string quartet to be selected as BBC New Generation Artists. Most recently, George has enjoyed returning to the English Haydn Festival as a soloist to perform concertos by C. P. E. Bach and Schumann. He has worked with such groups as the English Concert, Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Arcangelo, and the Hanover Band.

Alastair Ross was a chorister at Christ Church, and later an organ scholar at New College, Oxford. As a freelance organist and harpsichordist for fifty years, Alastair has played for The Sixteen and the Academy of Ancient Music, appearing on all their award-winning recordings for most of that time. For twenty years, with his wife Gilly, he directed Concerto delle Donne, a three-soprano group specialising in music from 17th– and 18th-century Italy and France. They made two recordings for Signum Records, the first one of music by Carissimi, and a visit to a historic organ outside Paris resulting in a further CD of Charpentier’s church music.

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Why The Early Music Shop loves "Father & Son":

Francesco Geminiani may not have the same level of fame as some of his contemporaries including Handel and Corelli, but the sophistication and harmonic adventure of his compositions prove to be an interesting basis for this new recording on Deux-Elles by George Ross (baroque cello) and Alastair Ross (harpsichord).

Aptly titled Father & Son (George being Alastair's son), the disc presents Geminiani's Cello Sonatas 1-6, albeit not in numerical order. The performances are well-interpreted, with a tightness of phrasing that means it's unsurprising to learn the musicians are related. 

George's cello playing is considered and refined, with the warm resonance of his Baroque cello by Kai-Thomas Roth providing a welcoming sonic backdrop to the album. Programming the fourth sonata in Bb major as the album's opener is a clever move, as its first Andante movement acts as a fleeting 25-second fanfare that gets the programme off to a rousing start. The energy of movements like this, and Sonata No.6, Mvt III with its dramatic chords, contrast skilfully with the slow movements, such as Sonata No.1, Mvt I's expansive rubato and light runs.

The Geminani sonatas are interspersed with two solo harpsichord pieces by Scarlatti and Duphly; while acting as a well-programmed palette-cleanser, these works also shine a light on the intricate and controlled harpsichord playing of Alastair, which is lyrical and expressive. Indeed, his continuo realisations of the Geminiani sonatas are strikingly melodic, providing a sense of momentum that carries the listener forward.

The CD sleeve notes, while not providing much background on the material presented, do contain an interesting written interview with the performers, which again emphasises the closeness and personal nature of the project for them both.

A gently stimulating journey through six highly listenable sonatas, "Father & Son" is an intimate and expressive recording that comes highly recommended.

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Father & Son is available now from The Early Music Shop online or in our Snape Maltings showroom.

Click here to order now!

Listen to the Sonata No.6, Movement III, Allegro Assai, which was released as the first single from the album:

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