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Antonio Janigro (cello)
The Rare Cello Recordings
rec. 1953-61
PROFIL PH20002 [4 CDs: 293 mins]

I’m struggling a bit with Profil’s retrospective approach. They trawl various source material and vary the number of discs in a box – ten discs for Michelangeli, van Cliburn and Joseph Keilberth and four for Gina Bachauer and, as here, Antonio Janigro. But that is more often than not reflective of how much these artists recorded, or how little. But beyond that question lies a deeper one. Who are these adventurously-priced sets for, and does the work selection make any kind of sense?

Given the almost non-existent track details, the prospective purchaser is on their own, so you’ll need a good online discography of the cellist/conductor of which, fortunately, there is one, though it doesn’t claim to be exhaustive. You will then need to sift the commercial legacy from the live material.

Taking the four discs one-by-one, the Haydn and Boccherini are live RAI broadcasts with Kempe conducting in the former and Franco Caracciolo in the latter. Both are ex-Archipel CD with restive audience noise more noticeable in the Haydn, solidly directed by Kempe. Janigro had already recorded the Haydn with Prohaska for Westminster and in neither case was he as effective as Bengtsson’s contemporaneous recording. Janigro is vigorous in the Boccherini, which he had recorded both for Westminster and for RCA. The elegant Mozart is from an Audite CD (Berlin, 1961). The Vivaldi Concerto is from 1958 I believe not the claimed 1961 and is RCA, though Decca-recorded, whilst the Corelli Concerto grosso must have been sourced from Audite’s excellent single disc devoted to his Berlin studio sessions of 1957-66. Corelli was a great strength of both cellist and his Zagreb Soloists.

Forgotten Records and Pristine Audio have rightly transferred Janigro’s recording of the Archduke Trio with Jean Fournier and Paul Badura-Skoda from 1952, not the following year as claimed. This is a thoroughly engaging, sensitive and marvelously characterised reading, full of touching detail and lithe folkloric moments, despite the work’s appellation. The only demerit is a rather dull, watery piano bass and that’s the fault of the original recording. There are two solid Beethoven Cello Sonata tapings from 1956 with the supportive Jan Natermann – ex the Jube label, recorded in Stuttgart. The Sachsen-Weimar/Bach/Kelemen concoction is movingly done with the Zagreb Soloists.

Disc three presents the Dvořák Concerto which I have already reviewed in its Archipel guise (review) though Tahra released it too. I’ve never forgotten the Cologne orchestra’s horn principal who would assuredly not have wanted his playing immortalized for posterity. Everyone has an off day. Kelemen was a favourite composer/arranger for the soloists and Janigro, and his Concertante Improvisations for Strings (which is touching and beautifully played) and Hindemith’s Trauermusik both come from the Audite CD.

The final disc has Janigro playing Brahms’ E minor sonata with Jörg Demus from a studio with no obvious audience present. He made an LP recording with Badura-Skoda. The final piece is possibly the best-known Janigro performance of the entire set, Fritz Reiner’s Chicago recording of Don Quixote, one of the work’s classic recordings.

This last point leads on to matters of redundancy. If you happen to have the Audite, you have a good number of things here. Other labels, reputable or somewhat less so, have released much of the rest and everyone knows about the Reiner Strauss. And this itself leads me back to my opening thoughts. This is a hodge-podge of cello and ensemble and commercial and concert performances. It’s neither comprehensive nor is it consistent. To me it represents a scattershot trawl of Janigro and his soloists’ legacy, but it just might interest someone whose interest has been whetted but whose approach is more generously disposed to the laissez-aller.

Jonathan Woolf


Contents
Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major, Op. 101. Hob. VIIb:2 [25:48]
Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma della RAI/Rudolf Kempe
Mozart: Divertimento in B Flat Major, K. 137 "Salzburg Symphony No. 2" [9:13]
Zagreb Soloists
Boccherini: Cello Concerto No. 9 in B flat major, G482 [21:24]
Orchestra Alessandro Scarlatti di Napoli della RAI/Franco Caracciolo
Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 3 No. 9, RV 230 (Arr. for Cello & Orchestra) [10:47]
Zagreb Soloists
Corelli: Concerto grosso Op. 6 No. 4 in D major [8:21]
Zagreb Soloists/Gunhild Stappenbec
Beethoven: Piano Trio No. 7 in B Major, Op. 97 "Archduke"42:58£8.40
Paul Badura-Skoda (piano), Jean Fournier (violin)
Beethoven: Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69 [25:49]
Jan Natermann (piano)
Johann Ernst von Sachsen-Weimar: Concerto for Cello and String Orchestra; transcr., J S Bach - arr. Milko Kelemen [10:25]
Zagreb Soloists
Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104 [37:26]
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester/Erich Kleiber
Beethoven: Cello Sonata No. 4 in C major, Op. 102 No. 1 [13:54]
Jan Natermann (piano)
Kelemen: Concertante Improvisations for Strings [7:47]
Antonio Janigro (cello)
Zagreb Soloists
Hindemith: Trauermusik (version for Cello and Strings) [9:45]
Stefano Passaggio (viola)
Zagreb Soloists
Brahms: Cello Sonata No. 1 In E Minor, Op. 38 [26:33]
Jörg Demus (piano)
Strauss: Don Quixote, Op. 35 [43:00]
Milton Preves (viola), John Weicher (violin)/Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner



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