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Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Cello Concerto No. 1 [25:24]
Cello Concerto No. 2 [26:37]
Josef MYSLIVECEK (1737-1781)
Cello Concerto in C [20:35]
Wendy Warner (cello)
Camerata Chicago/Drostan Hall
rec. 26-29 November, 2012, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois
CEDILLE RECORDS CDR 90000 142 [72:36]

My last review of a Wendy Warner CD began this way: “Wendy Warner is one of our most intelligent, cultivated cellists, and after praising her superb recital of romantic pieces by David Popper and Gregor Piatigorsky, I was ready to lend an ear to whatever music she chose to offer next.” I should probably just paste that at the start every time I review a Warner album, because it’s still true of this excellent disc of Haydn and Mysliveček.
A warning to period performance enthusiasts: this disc has nothing to do with period practice. The orchestra plays on modern instruments and is conducted without the extra spunk we’ve come to expect from bands like the Freiburg Baroque. Wendy Warner uses copious vibrato in slow movements and cultivates a big, generous sound, the kind you might associate with some of her past repertoire from later eras. If you are a fan of the Marriner/Böhm classical style, you’ll feel at home; if more inclined to the Haydn of Weil/Fey/Goodman, maybe not. Christophe Coin’s benchmark Haydn cello concertos, with Christopher Hogwood, are a combined three minutes faster than this CD’s readings.
I’m a period-instrument nut but don’t have a problem with this album. There’s an elegance and sheer class which makes it good, and then there’s Wendy Warner to make it really good. Her solo playing is always pretty, melodies given to her cello always unfold with stately charm, and the support from the orchestra is perfectly good. So’s the sound. Mysliveček’s concerto is a wonderful find, with a nobly sad-hearted grave slow movement and, peculiarly, a minuet instead of a finale.
In the end I’d probably take a more spirited period-style performance over this one as a top choice. Christophe Coin’s is just about everyone’s favourite but this disc has great merits. At the risk of repeating myself, I’ll listen to Warner play just about anything. If you are looking for an introduction to her art, best start with one of her previous albums: Popper & Piatigorsky or Rachmaninov & Miaskovsky.
I downloaded my MP3 copy from ClassicsOnline. However, if you intend to download anything from Cedille Records, I recommend doing so from Cedille directly, since they offer the full booklet PDF and a very affordable option for FLAC files-only slightly pricier than ClassicsOnline’s MP3s.
Brian Reinhart