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Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major, Hob. VIIb:1 (1761/1765) [26:45]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Horn Concerto in E flat major, K.447 (1787)
(arranged as Cello Concerto in D major by Gaspar Cassadó) [19:55]
Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)
Cello Concerto in B flat major, Wq.171 (1751/1753, rev. 1792) [21:37]
Valentin Radutiu (cello), Münchener Kammerorchester/Stephan Frucht
rec. January 2015, August-Everding-Saal, Grünwald, Germany

On Hänssler Classic, cellist Valentin Radutiu has turned for his new album to two classical-era cello concertos by Haydn and C.P.E. Bach, and to Cassadó’s arrangement of Mozart’s horn concerto.

Munich-born soloist Radutiu, the son of a professional cellist, grew up with the instrument. He studied with an eminent roster of teachers: Clemens Hagen, Heinrich Schiff and David Geringas. On this disc, Radutiu is accompanied by the Münchener Kammerorchester directed by Stephan Frucht. Founded in 1955 during the post-war period, the Kammerorchester comprises around twenty-five players playing on modern instruments. There is a promotional clip for this release on YouTube. Frucht explains the Kammerorchester’s aims to play “like a string quartet with a small wind orchestration, very interactively. We are truly like a team working together.”

The first work is Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major, written in the 1760s for his long-time friend Joseph Franz Weigl, principal cellist of Prince Nicolaus’s Esterházy Orchestra. The score was thought lost until 1961, when musicologist Oldřich Pulkert unearthed a copy of the score at the Národní muzeum, Prague. Authenticity of the score has been questioned, although it is now generally thought to be a genuine Haydn score. Here for the first two movements Radutiu is using solo cadenzas that employ Haydn motifs prepared for him by Peter Maria Schneid.
Spanish cello virtuoso Gaspar Cassadó, who was also a composer, endeavoured to widen the cello repertoire. He transcribed for cello and orchestra Mozart’s Horn Concerto in E flat major, K.447 from 1787. It was Piatigorsky who premièred Cassadó’s transcription in 1933 at Boston. Cassadó returned to the transcription in 1940, making numerous alterations and creating an arrangement that he felt was more in the style that Mozart would have written.

The final work is by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, a prolific composer of concertos, an oeuvre dominated by fifty-two harpsichord concertos. Written in 1751/1753 at Potsdam and revised in 1792, C.P.E. Bach’s Cello Concerto in B flat major is the earliest work on the album. It is generally thought that the B flat major concerto is an original work for cello, not an arrangement of a work for harpsichord or flute.

Radutiu, clearly a very fine player, produces a glorious tone on his cello, a Francesco Ruggieri, Cremona (1685). Generally his performances of the Allegro movements less inspire than convey a serious and resolute quality. To match my ideal conception, I require additional fluidity and increased vitality and ebullience. In addition, the Adagios and Larghetto feel too measured, slightly laboured. Although director Stephan Frucht and the soloist adopt a pacing that is not ideal for my taste, the Münchener Kammerorchester plays beautifully and goes some way to capture the unassuming warmth of this delightful music. No problems at all with the recorded sound from the August-Everding-Saal, Grünwald. It has satisfying clarity and balance.

Michael Cookson

Previous review: David Barker


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