Enrico Mainardi

Enrico Mainardi: Cello Concertos, Vol. 1

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Like many musicians of his generation, cellist Enrico Mainardi had his career interrupted by the onset of World War I. He began his musical career as a child prodigy of sorts, touring at the behest of his father from a very early age. The war put an end to his ability to tour and so his cello was set aside; when he took it up again, he had lost much of the instinctive playing he had learned as a child and had to begin anew. He did not return to a serious playing schedule until he was almost 30. This unique perspective on learning the instrument as both a child and an adult ensured that Mainardi was in high demand as a teacher, able to diagnose and treat technical problems quickly in his students. His playing most certainly heralds from the "old school" and many listeners may have difficulty accepting his approach to the instrument and his interpretation of the works heard on this three-disc set. For one thing, Mainardi rarely even comes close to playing fast. Even if a tempo marking in the score clearly calls for a brisk tempo, Mainardi almost universally chooses a more conservative, almost pedantic pace. Interpretively, his playing is quite vertical, lacking in the long, singing lines and spun sound quality that characterize the great cellists of the last half of the twentieth century. Certainly of interest to historical collectors or cello pedagogues, this collection is not as suitable for the casual listener.

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