Antonio Meneses / Royal Northern Sinfonia

Haydn: Cello Concertos; Pereira: Concertino for Cello

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The two extant cello concertos of Haydn have endured as turbulent and speculative journey through the history of music as just about any other work in the standard canon. The C major Concerto, the earliest written, was thought to have been lost until the mid-20th century. The great D major Concerto was, for many years, credited to the cellist Anton Kraft (who likely gave the premiere) until Haydn's original manuscript was discovered in the 1950s. Now that issues of authorship have been settled, listeners can give credit where it is due for these indispensible additions to the repertoire. Performing here with the Northern Sinfonia is cellist Antonio Meneses, formerly of the Beaux Arts Trio. Meneses' approach to the Haydn concerto is wonderfully simple and straightforward. He cleanly executes precisely what is in the score without the unnecessary need to embellish or mar with excessive rubato. Though his right arm might be seen by some as too heavy in the frequent chords in the C major's first movement, the nimble, light stroke he achieves in the third movements will leave listeners clambering for the repeat button. The D major concerto is played with a similar level of elegance and energy. Rounding out the disc is the unusual addition of the Brazilian composer Clóvis Pereira's Concerto for cello and string orchestra. Paying homage to the Baroque and the influence that period's music has had on other composers in the region, the Pereira concerto is a nice counterpart to the well-known Haydn concertos.

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