Johannes Pramsohler (violin) and Philippe Grisvard (harpsichord) have worked together on a number of recordings. Their latest, lavishly produced and beautifully packaged double CD recording focuses on French Sonatas for the Harpsichord and Violin. They begin with Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville (1711-1772), and explore his influence on other composers from around 1740-1760, and the changing role of the violin in accompanying sonatas for the harpsichord from that period. So across the two discs, we have two of Mondonville’s influential Sonatas, as well as sonatas from six other composers, including no fewer than five world premiere recordings. As ever, the energy and dedication that Pramsohler & Grisvard bring to the repertoire is highly engaging. There is a consistent brightness and energy in their sound, always refined, and with incredible attention to the fine detail, with delicate ornamentation and graceful poise. It is also fascinating to hear the contrasting styles of different composers, from the sophisticated grace of Jacques Duphly’s (1715-1789) characterful pieces, grouped and presented here as two ‘sonatas’, to the virtuosic and more dramatic Sonatas by Louis-Gabriel Guillemain (1705-1770). These latter works put great technical demands on both players, and the evident enthusiasm Pramsohler and Grisvard have for them is infectious. The harpsichord is perhaps most dominant in the Versaille harpsichordist Luc Marchand’s (1709-1799) Suite here, with its rattling repetitions and ringing scales in the final Carillon du Parnasse, whereas the melodic lines and ideas are shared and swapped back and forth between the instruments more in Michel Corrette’s (1707-1795) Sonata. This is a fascinating collection, put together with great insight (and highly informative notes from the players), and performed with such energy and commitment throughout. Highly recommended.
Various. 2018. French Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin. Philippe Grisvard, Johannes Pramsohler. Compact Discs (2). Audax Records ADX 13710.