> VIVALDI Cello concertos: Debrus [DW]: Classical Reviews- February 2002 MusicWeb-International

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Music for cello and orchestra

Cello Concerto in E minor
Cello Concerto in G major RV 413
Concerto for strings and cembalo in D
Cello Concerto in G major, R 417
Concerto for strings and cembalo in A major
Concerto for two cellos RV 411
Alexandre Debrus (cello)
(second cello - Elaine Debrus-Boucher)
Arpeggio Chamber orchestra/Gilberte Boucher
Rec 1990s? (DDD)
PAVANE ADW 7352 [63.32]


Experience Classicsonline

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 allegros.

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.

David Wright


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