Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Cello Concertos 6
Listen to Samples
Respectful Approach to the Music
Dr. Christopher Coleman | HONG KONG | 03/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There seem to be two kinds of virtuoso performer. One plays so well that his audience would go hear him play anything (except perhaps Contemporary Art Music); the emphasis is on the performer's interpretation rather than the music itself. Dynamics, tempi, and the like are considered by that sort of performer as a mere guideline which may be discarded if desired. The other sort of virtuoso also plays wonderfully; but always maintains the highest respect for the music and the composer's intentions (as best as they can be divined). The emphasis is on the music, not the virtuoso; and this performer's audience might well skip a performance of a work they didn't particularly care for. Compare Yo-yo Ma and Ofra Harnoy's audiences. Ma's treat him almost like a rock star; and they are there if he's playing O'Connor or Bach or Chinese folk songs. Harnoy's audiences treat her like a star, too, but a star in the world of Classical music; and I have to think that this is neither a result of their performance ability or their appearance but their personalities and interpretations. Harnoy is capable of Ma's flash, but she simply doesn't pull out all the stops all the time. It may well be that her performances are more historically and stylistically accurate; but Ma gets better press.This recording, I believe, is actually a re-issue of RCA 70943, made before Harnoy got the marketing she currently has, and the lightened and streaked hair. On the cover of the original she is no gorgeous supermodel cellist but a chubby-faced young woman having a bad hair day. Regardless, she plays fantastically. I've heard Ma perform the C major concerto (live), and as I've alluded above, he plays it like it is a Romantic concerto, full of dynamic extremes that seem most unlikely for Haydn's time. (The printed music is almost entirely devoid of dynamic indications.) Harnoy exerts more self-discipline, and her more balanced approach is thoroughly satisfying. She plays with a lush, full tone--one which is even more consistent than Ma's, which tends to an occasional scratchiness caused by those very dynamic extremes--and impeccable intonation; her sense of phrasing and line let the music soar. This is Haydn at his best, and Harnoy does a wonderful job of portraying him so. The cadenzas (credited on the reissue but not on the original disc) are lovely and completely appropriate. I do wonder, though, about the modern practice of cadenza performance. Harnoy is one of many (most?) performers who rely on a third party to write a cadenza for them in these Classical Concerti. But surely this is an ahistorical practice, which conflicts with the original point of the cadenza as an opportunity for the performer to showcase their own sponteneity and virtuosity. Regardless of this issue, though, this is a fine performance and a worthy addition to any Classical Music library."