The name of the English composer and cellist John Garth, born in 1721 and who died in 1810, is virtually unknown in Italy, as is that (except to specialists) of his fellow countryman and colleague Charles Avison. This double CD, featuring Garth’s Sonatas with accompaniment, Op. 2 and op. 4, now allows those who love the late baroque to appreciate his composition.
Each collection consists of six sonatas of two movements each (lacking a formal slow movement) for two violins and cello, accompanied by either harpsichord, piano or organ. These are pleasant works, easy to grip (the minuet movements are especially intriguing) which highlight a composer fascinated, as was Avison, by contemporary Italian instrumental style. The interpretation by the Avison Ensemble (one of the most interesting of British ensembles playing baroque music) and harpsichordist Gary Cooper makes the most of these works and highlights Garth’s skillful and versatile compositional technique.