COMPOSERS: Boccherini,Couperin,Frescobaldi & Monn
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Jian Wang Ð The Baroque Album
WORKS: Works by Boccherini, Couperin, Frescobaldi & Monn
PERFORMER: Camerata Salzburg/Jian Wang (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: 474 236-2
This is a strange collation. The two genuine cello concertos, by Boccherini and Monn, are neither ‘Baroque’ nor examples of what the notes describe as ‘cello music… largely sidelined by modern performers’. The Baroque items by Couperin and Frescobaldi are early 20th-century arrangements, party pieces for cello and strings.
However, the Boccherini Concerto in B flat major, G482, makes a real contribution to the repertoire. It is restored to its original form, a vivid demonstration that Friedrich Grützmacher was extremely economical with the truth in his bowdlerised version, popularised especially by Jacqueline du Pré’s 1967 recording. With its opening ritornello now complete, and its original beautifully expressive slow movement, it is a fine piece. Wang has remarkable control of its stratospheric range, though I’d readily exchange the odd technical blemish for a touch more fire and passion. So, too, in the Monn Concerto, with Camerata Salzburg playing immaculately in tune but limping rather wearily through dotted rhythms. The intimate recording well suits these small-scale orchestral forces.
A group of Couperin transcriptions are a vignette of Romantic taste and, while Frescobaldi himself would probably not recognise his keyboard toccata transcribed for cello and strings, it is an attractive encore piece of quickly shifting moods and virtuoso passagework. George Pratt