Leonardo Leo: Six Cello Concertos

Leonardo Leo: Six Cello Concertos

by Hidemi Suzuki
     
 

It won't do to claim the cello concertos of Leonardo Leo (1694-1744) as unknown masterpieces. But if you enjoy hearing a composer struggle with musical materials in an era of transition (might be relevant to today's scene, eh?), you'll find these interesting. Leo was posthumously praised by both Charles Burney and See more details below

Overview

It won't do to claim the cello concertos of Leonardo Leo (1694-1744) as unknown masterpieces. But if you enjoy hearing a composer struggle with musical materials in an era of transition (might be relevant to today's scene, eh?), you'll find these interesting. Leo was posthumously praised by both Charles Burney and E.T.A. Hoffmann, but today he is known vaguely, if at all, as one of the forerunners of Classical-era opera. These six concertos were written in 1737 and 1738 for Leo's patron Domenico Marzio Caraffa, the Duke of Maddaloni, and they were cutting-edge stuff at the time -- partly, at least. Sometimes this music sounds 30 years older than it is, sometimes 30 years ahead of its time. Leo sticks (except in the five-movement "Concerto No. 2," which includes a fugue) to the four-movement sonata da chiesa pattern of the early eighteenth century, and his way of thinking is remarkably contrapuntal for someone whose reputation has been as a melodist. The fast-tempo second movements of several of the concertos, though, rank near the beginning of the chronology of music recognizably displaying what would become known as sonata form. If you heard an unannotated performance of the second movement of the "Concerto No. 3," with its varied harmonic rhythms, you might almost take it for early Haydn. You can also hear Leo working out the idea of contrasting themes, and trying to match it up with the concerto's solo-and-tutti contrast. The thoroughly international members of Amsterdam's Orchestra "Van Wassenaer" (named after a mysterious, reclusive composer of the Dutch Baroque) deliver enthusiastic readings of this music. They use period instruments and have recorded in an Amsterdam church that captures the sinewy textures that they produce as a group. If you prefer a more burnished surface in music like this, you may find the sound here a bit brittle, but the group's approach works well for Leo's only moderately lyrical music. Soloist Hidemi Suzuki continues to add to an impressive list of outings on the Baroque cello with crisp, commanding readings that have a good feel for Leo's pioneering attempt to define the cello as a solo instrument. This disc is recommended for anyone interested in the Classical style and how it took shape.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/27/2001
Label:
Bis
UPC:
7318590010570
catalogNumber:
1057

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Concerto for cello & strings in A major (1738)  - Leonardo Leo  - Makoto Akatsu  - Makoto Akatsu  - Makoto Akatsu
  2. Concerto for cello & strings in F minor  - Leonardo Leo  - Makoto Akatsu  - Makoto Akatsu  - Makoto Akatsu  - Hidemi Suzuki
  3. Concerto for cello & strings in A major (1737)  - Leonardo Leo  - Makoto Akatsu  - Makoto Akatsu  - Makoto Akatsu
  4. Concerto for cello & strings in D minor  - Leonardo Leo  - Makoto Akatsu  - Makoto Akatsu  - Makoto Akatsu  - Hidemi Suzuki
  5. Concerto for cello & strings in D major  - Leonardo Leo  - Makoto Akatsu  - Makoto Akatsu  - Makoto Akatsu
  6. Sinfonia Concertata for cello & strings in C minor  - Leonardo Leo  - Makoto Akatsu  - Makoto Akatsu  - Makoto Akatsu  - Hidemi Suzuki

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