WORKS: Haydn: Cello Concertos Nos 1 & 2; Pereira: Cello Concertino in G
PERFORMER: Northern Sinfonia/Antonio Meneses (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: AV 2176
Antonio Meneses delivers warm and technically flawless accounts of the Haydn C major and D major supported by an enthusiastic and full-blooded contribution from the Northern Sinfonia.
In some respects the orchestra’s articulation is perhaps a little too heavy during the tuttis of the outer movements, but this hardly detracts from the overall enjoyment of the music-making which, while offering few of the interpretative nuances one normally associates with period performances, is nonetheless refreshingly straightforward and free from unwarranted mannerisms.
Playing of such a high calibre is fully worthy of comparison with the strongest rivals in the current catalogue, but inevitably other aspects of the disc have to be considered.
For example, while Meneses fortunately resists the temptation to present unnecessarily long-winded cadenzas in the slow movements, I find those he offers for the opening Moderato of the C major and the Allegro moderato of the D major rather laborious and unimaginative, though they are less likely to irritate the listener than the infantile musical jokes featured in Ivan Monighetti’s recent release on Dux (reviewed in June).
Also, while applauding Meneses for his enterprise in coupling the two Haydns with the brilliantly projected world premiere recording of a Concertino written for him by the Brazilian composer Clóvis Pereira, the work turns out to be rather lacking compelling musical ideas and structural cohesion. Erik Levi