Giovincello

'Moreau minimises the fine distinctions between Baroque and Classical styles, with Haydn’s famous Concerto in C coming off worst'

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Boccherini,Graziani,Haydn,Platti and Vivaldi
LABELS: Erato
ALBUM TITLE: Giovincello
WORKS: Cello concertos by Boccherini, Graziani, Haydn, Platti and Vivaldi
PERFORMER: Edgar Moreau (cello); Il Pomo d’Oro/Riccardo Minasi
CATALOGUE NO: 2564605266

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This, the second release from young French star Edgar Moreau, traces the cello concerto from Vivaldi to Haydn, taking in unfamiliar names en route. Carlo Graziani’s warmly expansive 1770s concerto, with its melting Larghetto grazioso, receives its premiere recording. In style somewhere between Boccherini and Haydn, without the memorable tunes, it’s a good vehicle for Moreau’s fleet, refined virtuosity. Giovanni Platti’s briefer concerto of c1740 belongs firmly in the Baroque and plays with some interesting reverberation effects in its mournful Adagio, and has a briskly brilliant Allegro. Boccherini’s Concerto in D features dazzling double-stopping and fine-spun duos and trios with players from the excellent Il Pomo d’Oro.

In his sleeve note Moreau claims to be ‘keen to break down stylistic barriers’. Here it unfortunately seems to result in a minimising of the fine distinctions between Baroque and Classical styles, with Haydn’s famous Concerto in C coming off worst. After an orchestral opening of vivacious grace, Edgar enters in haste, ironing out the delicate dotted rhythms and curvaceous phrases so carefully shaped by the other players. There are some moments of soaring loveliness in the Adagio (his sleek, dark-toned Tecchler coming into its own) but with the Allegro he sets off at such a bone-rattling prestissimo Haydn turns into Vivaldi. The choice of tempos may very well be Riccardo Minasi’s, but it’s a shame that the greatest concerto on the disc is not given a grander canvas on which to unfold.

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Helen Wallace