Primarily known as one of his generation’s top opera composers, Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801) may or may not have penned the 87 brief keyboard movements that were only discovered in 1927. Nevertheless, various editors then grouped the pieces into two- or three-movement sonatas. The music’s keyboard deployment and basic style evokes Cimarosa’s countryman Domenico Scarlatti (lots of echoed phrases and not-so-easy repeated notes) minus the older master’s witty textural inventiveness and felicitous harmonic twists. Most of the movements amount to charming expositions in need of development, and often seem to end just when you expect more to happen. Still, this disc ought to attract classical radio hosts looking for short, bubbly, and easily digestible fare to close up programming gaps.
And if you want background music guaranteed not to overwhelm your dinner guests, Victor Sangiorgio’s clean, even-handed, excellently engineered performances are ideal. Granted, Marcella Crudeli’s sharper accents and brighter, more scintillating articulation enliven these works to a more convincing degree, but her cycle is out of print (I have not heard Evgeny Soifertis’ single-disc Cimarosa collection on Meridian). Once Volume 2 appears, Sangiorgio most likely will have the complete Cimarosa sonata cycle field all to himself. [9/8/2009]