Steven Isserlis

Haydn, CPE Bach: Cello Concertos

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Haydn, CPE Bach: Cello Concertos Review

by Blair Sanderson

Over the course of his career, Steven Isserlis has performed the two cello concertos of Franz Joseph Haydn with several orchestras, and recorded them previously with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe on RCA. This 2017 Hyperion release features Isserlis performing Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major, H. 7b:1 and the Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major, H. 7b:2 with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in a lively, all-Classical program that also includes Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's Cello Concerto No. 3 in A major, H439, and two short filler pieces, Isserlis' arrangement of Geme la tortorella from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's La finta giardiniera, and the Adagio from Luigi Boccherini's Cello Concerto in G major, G480. By far the best-known works here are the Haydn concertos, though their popularity is a modern phenomenon and their attribution to Haydn only verified in the middle of the 20th century. Now they are firmly established in the cello's comparatively small repertoire of concertos, and Isserlis performs them with verve and elegance in authentic period style, while his engaging reading of CPE Bach's concerto suggests that it could one day be as favored as Haydn's. The performances of the Mozart and Boccherini pieces are more intimate, and Isserlis seems to have chosen them for the contrast their flowing lines and reflective moods bring to the album. Hyperion's recording offers crisp details and forward placement of the cello, giving Isserlis great presence and clarity.

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