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Track(s) taken from CDA67553

Cello Concerto in C minor, RV401


Jonathan Cohen (cello), The King's Consort, Robert King (conductor)
Recording details: April 2005
Cadogan Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: July 2006
Total duration: 10 minutes 12 seconds

Cover artwork: Venice by Moonlight (detail) by Henry Pether (fl1828-1862)
Private Collection / © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Cohen combines an easy and soulful tone with incisive precision and agility' (Gramophone)

'Cohen is an expressive player with a feeling for articulate phrasing who responds readily to the poetry of slow movements … the King's Consort under Robert King's direction from the harpsichord offers stylish and alert support throughout' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The playing … is first rate—phrases are beautifully wrought and each of the works is given a distinctive flavour. This is a recital to savour!' (Early Music Review)

'If there is any recording that might persuade our editor that there is some virtue to early music performance practice, this might be it. I find myself unusually involved by this release, in several respects, and I recommend it to your attention … the cello seems to have inspired him to write some of his deepest music—and I am not speaking registrally. This is a good selection from his 28 concertos for the instrument, performed with satisfying intensity' (American Record Guide)

'Cohen is an intelligent cellist … and in the slow movements he's a dream, fashioning an Adagio of deep, soulful beauty out of the simple materials provided in the early RV416. The uncomplicated orchestral playing provides the perfect backdrop for Cohen's graceful virtuosity, of which I'd certainly like to hear more' (International Record Review)

'Very delectable' (The Times)

'Cohen finds constant variety and individuality in these works' (The Strad)

'Lovely, extensive, crisp, melodic lines from The King's Consort strings … this album makes a sterling debut in my book' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'Jonathan Cohen and Robert King make an excellent team, and the interplay with The King's Consort is often incisive and exciting. It's a fine disc. A second volume of Vivaldi's cello concertos would be most welcome' (Classical Source)

'Jonathan Cohen's performances are nothing short of phenomenal; his dazzling agility and artistic insight truly make the cello sing … a disc to relish and enjoy in excellent sound and exemplary annotations' (Classical.net)
RV401 in C minor is one of the most distinctive of Vivaldi’s cello concertos, as well as being among the strongest. For reasons that no one has so far been able to explain, its first violin part is notated throughout in the soprano (C on the lowest line) instead of the treble clef, and the second violin is in permanent unison with the viola. In compensation for the rather lean texture that results, Vivaldi infuses a heavier than usual dose of counterpoint into the music. We encounter here an instance of homotonality, which allows the work to retain to the end the feeling of subdued melancholy introduced right at the start. My guess is that the option for the soprano clef has something to do with a sacred context of performance: as well as being used for recreational purposes, concertos were often performed in churches or theatres.

from notes by Michael Talbot © 2006

RV401 en ut mineur est l’un des concertos pour violoncelle les plus vivaldiens, l’un des plus puissants aussi. Pour une raison que personne n’a encore pu expliquer, sa partie de premier violon est notée de bout en bout non en clef de sol mais en clef d’ut (première ligne) et le second violon est constamment à l’unisson avec l’alto. D’où une certaine minceur de texture, que Vivaldi compense en injectant à la musique une dose de contrepoint plus forte que de coutume. Nous sommes ici face à un exemple d’homotonalité, qui permet à l’œuvre de conserver jusqu’au bout le sentiment de mélancolie contenue introduit d’emblée. Pour moi, le choix de la clef d’ut a quelque chose à voir avec un cadre d’exécution sacré: utilisés à des fins récréatives, les concertos étaient, aussi, souvent joués dans des églises, des théàtres.

extrait des notes rédigées par Michael Talbot © 2006
Français: Hypérion

RV401 in c-Moll ist eines der charakteristischsten Cellokonzerte Vivaldis und gleichzeitig eines der stärksten. Aus bisher unerklärlichen Gründen ist der Part der ersten Violine durchweg im Sopranschlüssel (C auf der niedrigsten Notenlinie) anstatt im Violinschlüssel notiert, und die zweite Violine erklingt das ganze Werk hindurch zusammen mit der Viola im Unisono. Um die sich daraus ergebende schlanke Textur auszugleichen, setzt Vivaldi einen intensiveren Kontrapunkt als normalerweise dazu. Hier haben wir es wiederum mit Homotonalität zu tun, was bedeutet, dass das Werk bis zum Schluss die gedämpfte Melancholie beibehält, die ganz zu Anfang eingeführt wurde. Ich nehme an, dass die Wahl des Sopranschlüssels mit dem geistlichen Aufführungskontext zu tun hat: neben dem häuslichen Gebrauch wurden Solokonzerte auch oft in Kirchen oder Theatern aufgeführt.

aus dem Begleittext von Michael Talbot © 2006
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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