Though born in Italy, Luigi Boccherini was based for most of his life in Madrid, where he played the cello and wrote more than a hundred string quintets. They’re perfectly formed from the simplest chords, and not without their touches of profundity. The cello sonatas sound at times too much like performers’ music. The explanation lies in changing styles of string technique and the rise of the piano, though Anner Bylsma’s playing gives them a new lease of life.– Nicholas Williams
On one end of the continuum, there is Dvorák's Concerto in B minor for cello and orchestra, a composition that is among the composer's best known and has become a cornerstone of the instrument's repertoire. On the other end, the Piano Concerto in G minor, a work that had difficulty garnering acceptance even during the composer's lifetime and is still looked upon with less favor than other concertos written in the same period.
Alberto Ginastera was one of the most admired and respected musical voices of the twentieth century, who successfully fused the strong traditional influences of his national heritage with experimental, contemporary, and classical techniques. The two Cello Concertos are among his most innovative, brilliant and technically formidable compositions.
In his lifetime, Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894) was most celebrated as a pianist and was often considered Liszt's only real rival. However, he was also an extremely productive composer, his output including eight concertos, two of which are for 'cello.
Young cellist Han-Na Chang, Korean-born and trained in the U.S. by Mstislav Rostropovich, is a newcomer to Baroque music, having released a mixture of cello classics and late-Romantic and contemporary concertos up to this time. Here she delivers a set of seven Vivaldi cello concertos that Rostropovich himself might have helped her shape; it's something of a throwback to the way Vivaldi was played 30 or 40 years ago.
While J.S. Bach’s Suites for solo cello are, by definition, closely identified with Mstislav Rostropovich as the supreme cellist of his time, the B flat concerto of Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach represents a more unusual departure. It is programmed here with two concertos in D major by Italian composers of the elder Bach’s generation, Antonio Vivaldi and Giuseppe Tartini.