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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


 

Carl STAMITZ (1745-1801)
Cello Concerto in A major
Cello Concerto in C major
Cello Concerto in G major
Claude Starck (cello)
South-West German Chamber Orchestra/Paul Angerer
rec Jan 1981 in Pforzheim, Germany
CLAVES CD 50-8105 [55.40]
CD available for post-free online mail-order or you may download individual tracks. For some labels you can download the entire CD with a single click and make HUGE savings. The price you see is the price you pay! The full booklet notes are available on-line.

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As a violinist, I have always wanted to play the cello. And if that sounds Irish – it probably is. But ever since I stopped making squeaking noises on the fiddle and realised what a wonderful family of instruments I had joined, I recognised the power and majesty of the tenor instrument. In the intervening years I have seen and heard memorable exponents of the cello such as Tortelier, Lloyd-Webber, Isserlis and Ma and have seen nothing that dissuades me from my love of the instrument.

Even if this were not the case, however, I could not help but be wooed to the cello’s cause by this utterly charming disc of Stamitz concerti. I know little of Claude Starcker as a soloist, but his career notes in the booklet include some impressive credentials, and his performances here are sympathetic and sound authoritative. The recording engineer set the mike a little too close to the soloist for my taste, since there are occasions when the resonance of the instrument is a little too dominant, but this is a minor beef when set against the sheer exuberance of the music.

Carl Stamitz was the son of Johann, famous co-founder of the Mannheim school and central figure in the development of 18th century European orchestral musical style. Better travelled than his father, he died in penury in 1801, leaving behind an enormous quantity of compositions, few of which see the light of modern performance venues – which is a great shame. All three of these concertos – thought to belong to a set of six written for King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia, probably in 1786 – are wonderfully wrought works, full of catchy, instantly memorable melody and magnificently harmonious. In this respect they are very similar to the cello concerti of Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach – indeed, better, I think, but not benefiting from modern ‘brand recognition’ in the same way as Johann Sebastian’s second surviving son. I find Stamitz’ structure somewhat sounder and less stilted – especially in the lyrical slow movements, in which he seems to excel.

This is a well-programmed and -produced disc of music that should have a wide appeal among specialist and generalist listeners alike. One minor criticism – levelled here at Claves in particular but meant for a wider audience among record labels – has to do with the quality of translation of the notes. Companies tend to spend significant money on commissioning notes and essays to enhance the listener’s understanding and enjoyment of the disc’s contents – it is a great shame to waste some of that investment by skimping on the translation and producing an inferior communicative tool.

Tim Mahon

 


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FREE SOUND SAMPLES
(minimum 30 secs)

Concerto in A major:
Allegro con spirito

Romance: Andantino

Rondo: Allegretto

Concerto in C major:

Allegro con spirito

Andante poco moderato

Rondo: Allegro

Concerto in G major:
Allegro con spirito

Romance: Andantino

Rondo: Allegro





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