Notes and Editorial Reviews
Writing in the booklet for this release, Hidemi Suzuki wonders why it is that cellists who bemoan their lack of concerto repertory continue to neglect C. P. E. Bach's three essays in the genre. One can only agree with him that it is indeed a mystery, for these are excellent pieces, full of infectious nervous energy in their outer movements and tender lyricism in central ones (heaven knows, there are nineteenth-century concertos for all sorts of instruments which we are condemned to hear over and over again that are not half as good as these). The Bach concertos are not unknown to the recording catalogues, however, not least because they also exist in alternative versions which the composer made for flute and harpsichord respectively. 'Modern' cellists who have been tempted to try some out include Rostropovich (H436) and Tortelier (1-1439), and there are currently discs of all three available from Timothy Hugh and Miklos Perenyi. As yet, though, the only baroque player to have attempted them has been, predictably enough, Anner Bylsma.
It is not known in what order the three instrumentations of these concertos originally came, but as Suzuki points out there are times when the low-lying cello has difficulty making itself heard properly against the orchestra, having said which, he proceeds to make light of the matter in performances whose agility, lightness and textural clarity make those of Bylsma and the larger-sounding OAE sound heavy-handed by comparison. But while Suzuki - thanks to a generally thinner sound - is the more successful in the way he transmits the surface excitement and energy of the quick movements, he cannot match Bylsma's vocal inspiration in the eloquent, sometimes brooding empfindsamkeit poetry of the slow movement — in such music, the Dutchman is always worth listening to. Suzuki's, nevertheless, are refreshing and enlivening performances of attractive and substantial music which I have already found myself replaying with pleasure. If you are a cellist, you should buy it straightaway to find out what you have been missing!
-- Gramophone [2/1998]