Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
Cello Concertos: No. 5 in D; No. 6 in d; No. 4 in e
Peter Hörr (vc, cond); Hofkapelle Weimar
MDG 9431581 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 58:06)
Jean-Louis Duport suffers the same fate as Carl Czerny; both are well known as pedagogues and nearly ignored as composers. Czerny’s
Studies, often prefaced with adjectives such as Progressive and Selected, have aided generations of aspiring pianists to develop technique and dexterity; Duport’s 21 Etudes, with the catchy title
Essai sur le doigté du violoncello et la conduite de l’archet, dédiéaux professeurs de vioncelle
, have been part of cellists’ education. Jean-Louis and his older brother Jean-Pierre, studied under Martin Berteau, who founded the French school of cello playing. The brothers were well known for their exceptional playing, especially Jean-Louis. It is claimed that Voltaire said, “Monsieur Duport, you will make me believe in miracles, for I see that you can turn an ox into a nightingale.”
This album includes three of the six cello concertos Duport composed, and probably performed on concert tours. They are not for beginning cellists, as they demand great virtuosity combined with a sweetness of tone. They are not often performed—and this may be the first recording of these works—but they deserve to be better known. They fall pleasantly on the ears, and they dazzle and amaze the listener with the demands made on the cellist. Unlike some concertos for solo instrument and orchestra where the soloist appears intermittently and has a few places for showy display, the cellist in these concertos is nearly always in the spotlight. Passages that are lovely and lyrical alternate with displays of virtuosity that take your breath away. Never less than interesting, these three concertos are filled with pleasing melodies. Stylistically, they come from that transition period where the Classical was evolving into the Romantic; there are hints of Haydn and Beethoven about them. All are in three movements: Allegro, slow movement, and Rondeau; the slow movements are marked
(Concerto No. 5),
Andante cantabile, grazioso
(Concerto No. 6), and
(Concerto No. 4).
Cellist Peter Hörr, who also conducts these performances, is a professor at the Leipzig College of Music and Theatre and frequently appears in concert, but so far has not made many recordings. To hear him play makes it worth acquiring this recording. One of the rewards of writing for this magazine is discovering new composers and wonderful music. Hearing this album was a happy surprise and a rewarding experience. The MDG hybrid surround sound is bright and clear, with a warm resonance. The soloist is not given an artificial aural prominence, but is in natural balance with the orchestra.
FANFARE: David L. Kirk
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