Active as a soloist and as a member of leading early music groups worldwide, Mime Yamahiro Brinkmann has appeared on a number of BIS releases, often being singled out in reviews for her performances as continuo player and soloist. For her first solo disc, she has devised a programme illustrating the rise of the cello – from its beginnings as a large-bodied, deep-voiced provider of accompaniments in church music to a glittering, flittering solo instrument of the Rococo. The programme begins with some of the earliest repertoire for the instrument – two unaccompanied pieces by Domenico Galli and Giovanni Battista degli Antonii, and a solo sonata by Domenico Gabrielli, all hailing from around 1690. Shortly thereafter the cello began to shrink in size, making it suitable for a more soloistic role. Bodin de Boismortier and Telemann were two of the many composers who explored its possibilities during the first part of the 18th century, but no one could match Luigi Boccherini, who born in 1743 became one of the first internationally recognized cello virtuosos. Not only did he compose more than thirty sonatas – and several concertos – for his instrument, but he also stretched the limits of what was playable on the cello to the utmost, and beyond. Boccherini challenges cellists with passages to be played at dizzying speed with the left hand above the fingerboard – but he also never forgets the instrument’s capacity for singing. Throughout the programme Mime Yamahiro Brinkmann is supported by Björn Gävfert at the harpsichord, and in the two Boccherini sonatas which close the disc the two are joined by Karl Nyhlin, adding colours with his baroque guitar – another of the composer’s favourite instruments.