Wen-Sinn Yang / Streicherakademie Bozen. Accademia d'Archi Bolzano

Haydn: Cello Concertos

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Swiss cellist Wen-Sinn Yang enters a crowded marketplace of Haydn cello concerto performances with this disc. Although he does not demolish any paradigms, he delivers careful, satisfying performances that in several respects have an edge on much of the competition. One comes in regard to the sound; superior engineering is not a surprise with the Oehms label, and Yang talks it up in the interview-format booklet notes, marveling at how engineer Michael Seberich experimented with "the texture of the relevant transmission cables" during his session. Of course that way of thinking may lead to an aural-mental hall of mirrors, but the fact is that the sound is beautifully transparent, and, moreover, nicely modulated to Yang's warm, melodic approach to the music. His playing is predominantly lyrical, but is paced in such a way as to leave room for the occasional operatic gestures in these pieces, which are unusually complex and technically difficult in comparison with most of Haydn's output for solo instrument. He handles the thornier passages confidently, all while conducting the Accademia d'Archi Bolzano (the package identifies Georg Egger as conductor, but it is not clear what his actual role was). The final pleasant feature here is the presence of the Violin Concerto in G major, Hob. 7a/4, which Yang plays simply by transposing it down an octave. This has rarely if ever been tried before on recordings, and it works surprisingly well. The work is not in a league with the two cello concertos, but it's made of the same melodic stuff, and Yang deserves credit for spotting its sparse accompaniment as a hospitable environment for the cello, especially inasmuch as the Classical-period repertoire for the cello is not large. A strong Haydn concerto recording that those with high-end equipment will especially enjoy.

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