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Giovanni Battista Cirri - Cello Concertos op. 14 (2014)

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Giovanni Battista Cirri - Cello Concertos op. 14 (2014)

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Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Major, Op. 14, No. 1
I. Allegro maestoso
II. Adagio cantabile
III. Tempo di Minuetto

Cello Concerto No. 2 in G Major, Op. 14, No. 2
I. Allegro spirituoso
II. Largo assai
III. Rondo: Allegro

Cello Concerto No. 3 in D Major, Op. 14, No. 3
I. Allegro con spirito
II. Adagio
III. Allegretto

Cello Concerto No. 4 in B-Flat Major, Op. 14, No. 4
I. Allegro
II. Adagio molto
III. Allegretto

Cello Concerto No. 5 in F Major, Op. 14, No. 5
I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante cantabile
III. Allegro

Cello Concerto No. 6 in C Major, Op. 14, No. 6
I. Allegro spirituoso
II. Larghetto
III. Rondo: Allegretto

Balázs Máté (baroque cello)
Aura Musicale (on period instruments)


Late-18th century virtuoso cellist/composer Giovanni Battista Cirri’s six Op. 14 cello concertos receive premiere performances on this Hungaroton 2-CD set. These mildly stylish works are somewhat reminiscent of the efforts of Cirri’s younger contemporary Boccherini, though they clearly lack the more celebrated composer’s inspired creative touches. For instance, the instrumentation intended to be on par with or at least supportive of the soloist rarely transcends the routine, ultimately serving as little more than a foil for many of cellist Balázs Máté’s historically informed solo cello cadenzas. This would not be so disconcerting if the cadenzas were interesting–which they’re not. For example, the one featured in the second-movement Adagio cantabile of Cirri’s A major first concerto is less an inventive ornamental flourish and more a dull series of variations on a trill. Likewise in the quicker, more virtuosic solos–such as the first-movement Allegro spirituoso of the sixth concerto–we hear little more than rapid successions of glorified higher-register scales. As evinced by his committed performances and sympathetic booklet notes, cellist Máté obviously has abundant enthusiasm for rescuing Cirri’s concertos from obscurity. The outcome however, will appeal strictly to specialists of 18th century cello performance practice and to baroque completists. Hungaroton’s sound is true to the demands of musical context and instrumental configuration. --- John Greene, classicstoday.com

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