An unfortunate moan first. The identification
of some of these concertos is not clear. The RV numbers help.
Three concertos are not identified with RV numbers or clearly
identified. But perhaps there is a good reason for this.
The booklet tells us a little about the soloist
and the conductor but nothing about the second cellist. Hmmm!
These absences are annoying. Inadequate information
is like announcing a symphony in G major by Haydn and not giving
us the number.
The cellist is very good in the fact that he
has a lovely tone and the performances are vibrant and do not
succumb to the rigidity of authenticity and the lingering over
cadences and all that nauseating rot.
The first movement of the first concerto (what
is the RV number?) is a beautiful cantilena gorgeously played,
really very special indeed, and the third movement is a fine
Lento. The other two movements are vigorous and captivating
The largo of the second concerto is also very
good. The finale is engaging although the cellist’s tone is
variable but he is very able in these swaggering quick sections
although there were moments of doubtful intonation.
A concerto lasting a mere seven minutes? Yes,
indeed, this Concerto in D for strings is crisply played but
by now we are getting the message that all the music sounds
the same reminding us of Stravinsky’s profound remark that Vivaldi
wrote one concerto a thousand times. Well, that may be so but
the style of this group appeals to me in the elegance that they
bring to this music ‘that sounds the same’. The clarity that
they bring to the fugue is admirable.
The G minor Concerto, RV417 buzzes along happily
and even if all this music sounds the same it has a very comforting
effect on me and others. That is not a very musical remark but
there will be lots of people who know what I mean and may be
able to express it better than I can. The central andante plods
somewhat and fulfils its description at a walking pace for that
is what it is, and a slow and purposeless pace it would seem.
The finale has humour and vitality although it sometimes seems
heavy perhaps because the cello is too forward and the orchestra
sometimes seems to be in another room. At times it seems a trifle
laboured, perhaps eccentric but Debrus will not be the first
eccentric cellist. He seems to be trying too hard almost if
he is being showy at the expense of the natural flow of the
music. Another seven minute concerto for strings follows. It
breaks no new ground and while it is pleasant it has nothing
startling or memorable about it.
The Double Cello Concerto is performed much
as the other items. The use of two cellos adds variety and the
interplay in the slow movement is highly rewarding
A mixed reception for this disc but it has
much to commend it.