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Vivaldi's Cello


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Editorial Reviews

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The great Yo-Yo Ma has recently (in addition to his world music explorations) moved to the baroque cello, a so-called period instrument, and his transition has been remarkably smooth. He is indeed a musical polyglot, and this CD finds him solidly in the heart of the Baroque period, with music by Vivaldi. In addition to three concerti the composer wrote for cello, there are some fascinating transcriptions. The Largo violin solo from the "Winter" concerto of the Four Seasons is here beautifully played on cello, its darker tone added substituting gravity for chill in the wintry landscape. A concerto originally for viola d'amore, lute and strings has been transformed into one for cello, organ, strings and continuo, with Baroque expert Ton Koopman as transposer and organist (and sympathetic, energetic conductor throughout). And oddest of all, Koopman has created cello solos out of arias (one of which is helped by a perky bassoon) originally composed for female voice from a couple of operas, the oratorio Juditha Triumphans, and the familiar "Laudamus te" from the famous "Gloria." Leave it to these musicians to re-invent Vivaldi with respect and a clear ear for musical values--not to mention sheer entertainment and a forward propulsion which makes it all so invigorating. --Robert Levine

1. Double Cello Concerto, for 2 cellos, strings & continuo in G minor, RV 531: I. Allegro
2. Double Cello Concerto, for 2 cellos, strings & continuo in G minor, RV 531: II. Largo
3. Double Cello Concerto, for 2 cellos, strings & continuo in G minor, RV 531: III. Allegro
4. Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in F minor ('L'inverno,' The Four Seasons; 'Il cimento' No. 4), Op. 8/4, RV 297: II.
5. Cello Concerto, for cello, strings & continuo in B flat major, RV 423: I. Allegro
6. Cello Concerto, for cello, strings & continuo in B flat major, RV 423: II. Largo
7. Cello Concerto, for cello, strings & continuo in B flat major, RV 423: III. Allegro
8. La Fida ninfa, opera in 3 acts, RV 714: Così sugl' occhi miei
9. Double Concerto, for viola d'amore & lute, strings & continuo in D minor, RV 540: I. Allegro
10. Double Concerto, for viola d'amore & lute, strings & continuo in D minor, RV 540: II. Largo
11. Double Concerto, for viola d'amore & lute, strings & continuo in D minor, RV 540: III. Allegro
12. Giustino, opera in 3 acts, RV 717: La gloria del mio sangue
13. Cello Concerto, for cello, strings & continuo in C minor 'Alla Rustica,' RV 401: I. Allegro non molto
14. Cello Concerto, for cello, strings & continuo in C minor 'Alla Rustica,' RV 401: II. Adagio
15. Cello Concerto, for cello, strings & continuo in C minor 'Alla Rustica,' RV 401: III. Allegro ma non molto
16. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Noli, ò cara, te adorantis
17. Gloria, for 3 solo voices, chorus, trumpet, oboe, violin (ad lib), 2 violas, 2 cellos, strings & continuo in D major, RV 589: Laudamu
18. Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644: Quanto magis generosa
19. La Fida ninfa, opera in 3 acts, RV 714: Dite oihmè

Product Details

  • Performer: Yo-Yo Ma, Jonathan Manson
  • Orchestra: Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
  • Conductor: Ton Koopman
  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0001IN11Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,630 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Great music for any contemporary classical fan!!
JRay
Yo-Yo Ma is one of the greatest cello players of all times and he's playing Vivaldi.
Kelly J. Sparks
At the end of a crazy day something good to come home to and relax.
Jerome Holman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Charles Richards on March 30, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Yo Yo Ma seems to be popping out CD's faster than Imelda Marcos bought footwear, but, being Yo Yo Ma, these are not "cookie cutter" albums; each is individual and has a lot to say about the music explored.
And this is no less true of his latest release, "Vivaldi's Cello", which really could have been called "Simply Baroque 3" as it features his collaborator on those two releases, baroque music master Ton Koopman (with his Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra). Like those previous albums, it contains pieces actually written for the cello as well as transcriptions of others originally written for other instruments or voice. This was done, as with the "Simply Baroque" duo, to attract a more "crossover" audience, but the transcriptions are expertly done and, as Koopman himself says, this kind of thing was very common in the baroque period.
The three main items on the program are the famous g minor concerto for two cellos RV531 (in which Ma is joined by baroque cellist Jonathan Manson), the c minor concerto RV401, and the B flat major concerto RV423. This is Ma's first attempt at Vivaldi, and he sounds perfectly at home here. As is usual with Vivaldi's concerti, virtuoistic passages abound, and Ma does not dissappoint. His playing is rich and clear, and the sound of the baroque cello he plays exquisite.
The rest of the program, as mentioned above, is made up of transcriptions, most of which are ingenious. Vivaldi's only surviving oratorio, "Juditha Triumphans" contains some of his greatest music for the human voice, and two selections from this work are included here: the jovial "Noli, o Cara, te Adorantis" and the meltingly beautiful "Quanto Magis Generosa".
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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 9, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I am probably more a fan of Vivaldi than I am of the Cello. Attribute this to my being a wind player and most enamored of the toots and squeaks that are our personal domain. But Yo-Yo Ma transcends and musical favoritism. He has certainly lifted the cello out of its undeserved anonymity and brought it into the musical foreground. He has a tremendous control over his sonority and complete loyalty to the sense of his music. In other words, he is much more than another great cellist; he is also an eminent musician. Fifty albums, 15 Grammy awards and a taste that spans genres - that's genius.

This quickly becomes obvious in the album at hand. Playing a 1712 Stradivarius specifically reconfigured as a baroque instrument he approaches a variety of Vivaldi's music, both written for the cello or newly transcribed for Ma. You get three cello Concerti (the G Minor for two cellos with Jonathan Manson, the B Flat Major, and the C Minor). All strong, performances that balance an analytic understanding of the music's requirements with a fine sensitivity for the artistic content.

The Concerto for Viola d'Amore, Lute and Orchestra, is rewritten for Cello, Organ, and Strings with Ton Koopman on organ. Koopman's choices of voices on this piece are a bit strange. The organ tootles a more than you would expect - occasionally sounding like a recorder on steroids. But Ma rides it out in style capturing the piece for his own. The Largo from Winter has been arranged so that the solo violin is now a solo cello. Since this is a beautiful melody in any case, it works, but this is more than a trivial rearrangement - more of a rewriting.

In addition there are rearrangements of some six opera and oratorio arias.
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77 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Judkins on April 10, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I was shocked and excited this week when I saw an add for a Yo-Yo Ma album of Vivaldi's music. It's a great partnership- one of the greatest cellists of our times pairing up with one of the founding fathers of the cello as a solo vehicle. Being a Vivaldi fan, and also being aware of Ma's previous two baroque CDs, I was begining to think that he intended to boycott recording Vivaldi for his entire career. How can one record two baroque cello CD's without one piece by the the greatest contributer of baroque repitiore? Thankfully that ignorance is over. The CD is somewhat disapointing, however. Ma is an undisputed master of the modern cello, and he seems relatively at home with the baroque fitted instrument, but he does not have mastery over the baroque instrument. The lower pitch and darker, duller tone quality are expected and enjoyable parts of period practice, but Ma and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra have balance problems. Vivaldi's vivacious style contains much rapid figuration where clairity is a must for success of the music. The B-flat major and g minor concertos suffer the most from this muddying of the details, which in effect is the muddying Vivaldi's entire musical intent. The Baroque cello is dark and muted in tone, but under a master is never muddy. The concertos do spark with a violent energy in the outer movements, with a tinkering wave of continuo sounds always at hand. But it's during the murky always heavy sounding solos that disapointment sets in. The Contrabass always plays the continuo in the concertos along with a showering of plucked instruments, and Ma's already muddied solos are buried under more sediment, plus the expressive mood of passages is made uniformly heavy and inflexible because of this decision.Read more ›
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