Vivaldi: Concertos for 2 Cellos

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COMPOSERS: Vivaldi
LABELS: Naxos
ALBUM TITLE: Vivaldi: Concertos for 2 Cellos
WORKS: Concertos for two Cellos, RV 531, plus various arrs by J Lloyd Webber
PERFORMER: Julian & Jiaxin Lloyd Webber (cello); European Union Chamber Orchestra/Hans-Peter Hofmann

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A Baroque composer’s stock-in-trade was to adapt music for particular resources. Vivaldi was no exception to this practice, but these adaptations are not by him but by cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. Giving much thought to the propriety of his arrangements, Lloyd Webber has explored both tonal and register issues. The results are convincing – you may be surprised at how idiomatic these pieces sound in their freshly conceived colours.

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The only work here in its original scoring is the well-known Concerto for two cellos and strings, RV 531. Otherwise, Lloyd Webber has arranged for two cellos Vivaldi’s Concerto for two mandolins, RV 532; for two horns, RV 539; for oboe and bassoon, RV 545; for cello and bassoon, RV 409; and a recently discovered Concerto for violin (or oboe) and cello, RV 812. Lloyd Webber’s wife, Jiaxin, plays second cello; both musicians articulate lightly and with pleasingly sharp definition. Their intonation is well-nigh impeccable and their warmly coloured timbre a constant delight. Lloyd Webber ends the programme with his arrangement of Milonga, from Astor Piazzolla’s Concerto for Bandoneon and Guitar. All is sympathetically complemented by the strings of the European Union Chamber Orchestra. Nicholas Anderson