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Weber, Danzi, Stamitz: Cello Concertos / Blees, Bünte

Release Date: 09/04/2011 
Label:  Vox   Catalog #: 232   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Carl Maria von WeberFranz DanziCarl Stamitz
Performer:  Thomas Blees
Conductor:  Carl-August BünteJörg Faerber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Symphony OrchestraWürttemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A most effective cello concerto by Danzi, one of the leading cellists of his time; one which treats the instrument as having a voice of its own, something that was regrettably rare in the late 18th century.

Danzi, at 20 principal cello of the best orchestra in Europe, has been in danger of being regarded by the catalogues as primarily a wind composer. It is true that later he left the Mannheim orchestra (then at Munich) and forged a career as conductor and composer elsewhere; but it is also true that on at least one occasion he returned to his first love bringing gifts in the shape of a concerto. A most effective concerto as it happens; not one which exploits the instrument to the maximum in technical resource (the only
Read more cadenza is an accompanied one not sharply different from normal passage-work), but instead a concerto which treats the instrument as having a voice of its own, as a normal exponent of eighteenth-century tunes. This was, for some reason, regrettably rare at the time. Perhaps correspondingly rare in our own day, which is not short of good cellists, is for those good cellists to settle down to playing an eighteenth-century melodic line (on the rare occasions they get one) in a straightforward classical style: the dynamic restraint and flexible phrasing, to which almost every other instrument is accustomed, so often seems to escape them. But it certainly does not escape Blees: he expounds the solo line not only with unfailing technical command but also with unfailing feeling for the shape of his phrases and the style of the period. This is altogether exceptional cello-playing. A good recording keeps this solo line, too, in ideal balance with the orchestra, though this last is not really here at its best: there are some sticky moments of ensemble.

The excellence of the Danzi rather overshadows the Weber; but this, too, is very good in its way. The title is odd : in English usage, anyway, a pot-pourri would surely be expected to be a medley, a selection of some kind: Marek Weber, in fact, more likely than Carl Maria. But this is no selection; it is more in the nature of a four short-movement concerto, unexacting musically, but very exacting technically: here the soloist is spotlit in a style distinctly advanced for its day. Blees responds well, too, to these very different demands; but in view of the nature of the music I could have wished him, here, balanced slightly more forward.

Nevertheless this is an unusual and interesting coupling to the Danzi, helping to make the record as a whole a particularly rewarding addition to the catalogue.

-- Gramophone [10/1970]
reviewing the original LP release of the Weber and Danzi works
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Works on This Recording

Grand pot-pourri by Carl Maria von Weber
Performer:  Thomas Blees (Cello)
Conductor:  Carl-August Bünte
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1808 
Concerto for cello in E minor by Franz Danzi
Performer:  Thomas Blees (Cello)
Conductor:  Carl-August Bünte
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1802 
Concerto for Cello no 1 in A major by Carl Stamitz
Performer:  Thomas Blees (Cello)
Conductor:  Jörg Faerber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn
Period: Classical 
Written: 1777; London, England 

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