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Classical Cello Concertos
CPE Bach, Joseph Haydn, Luigi Boccherini
Classical Cello Concertos
Genre: Classical


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Excellent bargain set
Aaron | Maryland, USA | 07/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This set is a great way to cheaply get the most important Classical era cello concertos all in one place. I mainly bought this for the Boccherini concertos, which make up Discs 2-4. Later eras certainly had longer and more ambitious cello concertos than these, but unlike most later composers, Boccherini was an actual virtuoso cellist, and it shows in his writing. In both the lyrical and virtuotic passages, Boccherini combines superbly idiomatic cello writing with exciting orchestra/soloist interplay. The performances (as with the Leo and CPE Bach works) are lively and well-paced, with excellent modern recording quality throughout.

Disc 1 contains the three cello concertos of CPE Bach, who I'm admittedly not as familiar with. These are from the very beginning of the Classical era, and are in my opinion not as impressive as Boccherini's. However, they are written in a very fiery and unpredictable style, making them a great listen as well. Disc 7 contains the two Haydn concertos, which are also well played and recorded, though unlike the rest of the set, they come from the analog era and aren't quite the same quality.

Disc 5-6 contain the cello concertos of Leonardo Leo. Contrary to the set's title, Leo was actually a Baroque composer, known today (if at all) mainly for vocal works. These two discs are only about 40 minutes each, and I honestly wasn't that impressed with the concertos. Basically, if you can get a good price I'd recommend thinking of this as a 5 Disc set and viewing the Leo works as bonuses.

I also wouldn't expect much from the packaging. As with most Brilliant CD's, this package combines great recordings with low prices and poorly-edited cardboard packaging. This one is especially bad: the CPE Bach section of the liner notes describe six of his symphonies, presumably because it was written for a completely different package. The track and time listings for the Boccherini concertos are also completely wrong. As far as I can tell, the correct order is: (Disc 2 - D/479, G/480, C/477, Bb/482)(Disc 3 - Eb/deest, D/478, A/475, D/483)(Disc 4 - Eb/474, C/573, D/476, C/481).

However, aside from those few "buyer bewares," I think this is an excellent set. Boccherini in particular was a superb cello writer, and I'd strongly encourage people to seek out his concertos and sting quintets in general."