‘This set of five discs is an invitation to a rather special journey: through what you hear, and what you read too, you will traverse, guided by the cello, not one history but several histories. With these Cello Stories, our intention is to show you how an instrument and its repertoire have taken shape whilst retaining the imprint and memory of diverse origins. I have selected the musical programme from my recordings for Alpha – some of them previously unreleased – to complement the text by Marc Vanscheeuwijck and numerous contemporary illustrations.’ –Bruno Cocset
…This CD indeed offers a new approach to Antonio Vivaldi with recordings of absolutely rare chamber repertoire. The sonatas are for violoncello solo, but are here performed with a variety of continuo instruments: harpsichord, organ, theorbo, guitar and double bass or violone. The whole is very closely and clearly recorded, giving the listener the opportunity to savour the delightful sound combinations and the intense violoncello playing of Bruno Cocset who, although definitely an early music specialist, here reminds me of Pablo Casals in the way he invests "soul" particularly in the slower movements…
Alpha Productions' Jean-Marie Leclair: Le Tombeau features the chamber group Les Folies Françoises under the direction of violinist Patrick Cohën-Akenine in a chamber overture from Op. 13, three sonatas from Op. 5, and the Concerto in G minor, Op. 10/6, by the ill-fated Leclair. In the concerto, Les Folies Françoises is filled out into a small orchestra whimsically referred to as the Orchestre des Folies Françoises, an appellation that can be translated as "the orchestra of French madmen," although that is probably not what they had in mind.
This interpretation is a perfect match to Savall's equally beautiful Art of the Fugue. Here you find even more variety in the blend of instruments. I am not going to have only one version of this music and my first recommendation is Münchinger's more emotional recording on Decca. When it comes to colourful instrumentation, however, Savall is the winner, and the direction & playing needs no justification, it is simply wonderful, even if I doubt this folk music style reflects the spirit of the baroque era.