Various Artists

Essential Cello

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The title Essential Cello is concise and accurate, for this 2010 double-disc compilation is a fairly thorough collection of the greatest hits of the instrument, presented without frills. Movements from the major cello concertos are presented, as are excerpts from the key sonatas, suites, solos from larger works, and encores, and most of them will be well-known to regular classical listeners. The masters who created the cello's core repertoire are well served, such as Antonio Vivaldi, J.S. Bach, Franz Joseph Haydn, Luigi Boccherini, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Antonin Dvorák, Camille Saint-Saëns, and 16 others from the Romantic and modern eras. Also represented are some of the great cellists who contributed legendary performances to EMI's back catalog, including Paul Tortelier, Mstislav Rostropovich, Jacqueline du Pré, Gautier Capuçon, and seven others who are prominent on the label's roster. The tracks are reasonably well-balanced over the two and a half hours of running time, even though there is a mix of analog and digital reproduction, and the recording dates range from 1966 to 2008. Newcomers to cello music will find this collection more than ample, and connoisseurs of this oeuvre will find this collection a pleasant refresher.

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