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The Cello And The King Of Prussia /Bylsma, Slowik, Hoogland


Release Date: 05/19/1998 
Label:  Sony Classical Vivarte Series Catalog #: 63360   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jean-Pierre DuportJean Louis DuportLudwig van BeethovenBernhard Romberg,   ... 
Performer:  Stanley HooglandKenneth SlowikAnner Bylsma
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

That flute-loving/playing monarch, Frederick the Great (1712-86), inspired a considerable literature for flute by some fine composers of the post-Baroque era, and wrote a bit of it himself; several recordings take that repertoire as their focus. Bylsma's illuminating program sheds light on Frederick's nephew and successor, the cello-playing/loving Friedrich Wilhelm II (1744-97). In a sense, the final victory of cello over gamba can be attributed to Friedrich Wilhelm's personal preference as a player, to his hiring of great cellists and cellist-composers for his court, and to his encouragement for more prominent cello parts in the quartets of Mozart and Haydn. Friedrich's most important move in the evolution of the cello as a virtuoso solo Read more instrument was his retention of the Duport brothers, virtuoso cellists, as court composers. Jean-Pierre (1741-1818) wrote a sonata for two cellos that, while conventionally Rococo/early-Classical from a musical standpoint, rises to heights of virtuosity more commonly found in isolated pockets of the early Baroque—the era of the gamba. Bylsma and Slowik are simply astounding in their rapid scales, arpeggios, string crossings, and other demonstrations of high velocity, all with ideal ensemble. The keyboard part for right hand alone is credited to Bylsma, but the notes are utterly silent as to what if anything Duport left out and what Bylsma did with it. This marvelous performance is the ideal way to begin the recital; once you've heard this you are prepared to go where Bylsma cares to lead you. The technical exercises by Jean-Louis Duport (1749-1819) are of a once-common sort: extreme technical display of one basic variety per piece for the "A" player; a simple harmonic line for "B," presumably the teacher. Bylsma flies around the fingerboard with the high metabolism rate of a small bird; ever so slight as music, true, but a rare opportunity for this cellist to really cut loose with pure flashiness.

Friedrich Wilhelm's "celebrity" court composer was Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805), who evidently never stayed at the court itself, but who kept his patron well supplied with music focusing on the cello(s). This Sonata is typically elegant; Boccherini manages to provide plenty of traded-off virtuoso opportunities for Bylsma and Slowik without ever sounding frenetic.

Beethoven visited the court to play his op. 5 Cello Sonatas with J.-L. Duport; they were dedicated to an appreciative Friedrich Wilhelm, and there is some speculation in Slowik's notes that Beethoven meant to further please the Handel-loving monarch with his Variations on the famous tune from Judas Maccabaeus. Bylsma's tone and attack taken on a greater virility for Beethoven, and Hoogland's own virtuosity makes for impressive versions of these two works. Beethoven also performed the op. 5 Sonatas with Bernhard Romberg (1767-1841), whose own relationship to Friedrich Wilhelm is indirect; he never played for the King but did perform with J.-L. Duport. It is the cello virtuosity and important cello literature that Friedrich Wilhelm encouraged that explain why Romberg belongs on this disc; his Sonata is a fascinating mix of high virtuosity for cello—way beyond what Beethoven calls for in op. 5—and a musical power and expressive scope that identify Romberg as a musician of Beethoven's time and influence. The entertainment value in the music of the Duport brothers is one thing, but Romberg is a potential source of active repertoire. The Sonata is a real find; Bylsma and Hoogland play it in early-period Beethoven style.

-- David K. Nelson, FANFARE [1/1999]
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonatas (6) for Cello and Basso Continuo, Op. 2: no 1 in D major by Jean-Pierre Duport
Performer:  Stanley Hoogland (Fortepiano), Kenneth Slowik (Cello), Anner Bylsma (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1770; France 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  Lutherse Church, Haarlem, Netherlands 
Length: 8 Minutes 38 Secs. 
2. Exercice for 2 Cellos no 11 in A minor by Jean Louis Duport
Performer:  Kenneth Slowik (Cello), Anner Bylsma (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  Lutherse Church, Haarlem, Netherlands 
Length: 3 Minutes 6 Secs. 
3. Variations (12) for Cello and Piano in G major on a theme by Handel, WoO 45 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Anner Bylsma (Cello), Stanley Hoogland (Fortepiano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  Lutherse Church, Haarlem, Netherlands 
Length: 10 Minutes 40 Secs. 
4. Exercice for 2 Cellos no 9 in D minor by Jean Louis Duport
Performer:  Kenneth Slowik (Cello), Anner Bylsma (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  Lutherse Church, Haarlem, Netherlands 
Length: 6 Minutes 42 Secs. 
5. Sonata for Cello and Piano no 1 in E flat major by Bernhard Romberg
Performer:  Anner Bylsma (Cello), Stanley Hoogland (Fortepiano)
Period: Classical 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  Lutherse Church, Haarlem, Netherlands 
Length: 21 Minutes 35 Secs. 
6. Sonata for Cello and Basso Continuo in E flat major, G 10 by Luigi Boccherini
Performer:  Anner Bylsma (Cello), Kenneth Slowik (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1771 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  Lutherse Church, Haarlem, Netherlands 
Length: 14 Minutes 18 Secs. 
7. Variations (7) for Cello and Piano on Mozart's "Bei Männern", WoO 46 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Stanley Hoogland (Fortepiano), Anner Bylsma (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  Lutherse Church, Haarlem, Netherlands 
Length: 8 Minutes 41 Secs. 

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