Baroque Cello Illuminations - shedding
new light on old favourites Henry ECCLES JUNIOR (1675/85-1735/45)
Sonata No.11 in g minor, second movement transcribed from Francesco
Antonio BONPORTI (1672-1749) Op.10/4/iv) [7:41] Willem de FESCH (1687-1757?)
Sonata in d minor Op.8 No.3 [11:23] Antonio VIVALDI(1678-1741) Sonata No.5 in e minor, RV40 [11:25]
François COUPERIN 'le Grand'
(1668-1733)Pièces en Concert (from Les Goûts Réunis,
arr. Paul BAZELAIRE(1886-1958) / Angela East) Prélude [2:14] Sicilienne [2:06] La tromba [1:33] Plainte [1:59] Air de Diable [1:40] Giuseppe (?) SAMMARTINI (1695-1750)
/ Martin BERTEAU (1700-1771) Sonata
Op.1a No.3 in G major [14:00] Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Suite No.1 for solo cello in G major BWV1007* [19:40]
Angela East (baroque cello); Ruth Alford (baroque cello, continuo);
Howard Beach (harpsichord)
rec. St John's Church, Loughton, Essex, UK, 17-19 May 2008,
* François-Bernier Concert Hall, Domaine le Forget, Saint-Irénée,
Quebec, May, 2001. DDD.
* Also available from Red Priest Recordings as part of the complete
Bach Cello Suites
RED PRIEST RECORDINGS RP005 [73:42]
Angela East will be familiar as the cellist in the piratical
outfit Red Priest, purveyors of many an outlandish move – and
plenty of sensitive ones too, let it not be forgotten - now
to be found on their own Red Priest label, as is this release.
East states that the pieces here are ones given to students
and that therefore they’re not really recorded, being considered
too simple. Armed however with a baroque cello and an audacious
imagination she has set to work in constructing a programme
that doesn’t seek to make any unduly pedagogic points, but rather
takes the music and plays it with commitment. Clearly the student
status stops at the Bach Suite she essays.
Actually the Eccles sonata isn’t as rare as all that, and it’s
a transcription from the violin original into the bargain. Jacques
Thibaud made a beautiful recording of it in days of yore, and
many a viola player is given it to study, as indeed are cellists.
East is aided by Howard Beach, her RP colleague, and cellist
Ruth Alford. East’s ornaments are fine, she ends the second
movement – ‘borrowed’ from one of Bonporti’s works – with a
rather melodramatic gesture, and tears into the finale with
gusto. Accents are powerful and there’s a resounding, powder
keg pizzicato to bring the show to a close.
Sensitive dynamic terracing informs de Fesch’s sonata: in fact
her playing throughout is finely judged. The finale in particular
shows how buoyant rhythmic control can generate considerable
excitement, and how textures can be explored with a minimum
One can certainly appreciate the effects in the Couperin selection,
probably the most diverting of which are the pedal harmonics
for the drone passage in the Plainte. Her Vivaldi is
quite interventionist, in that she shortens notes, and takes
a more free approach in general but it’s still an engaging,
theatrical affair. So too is the Sammartini-Berteau confection
– a melange of both composers’ work it seems. Whoever wrote
what, and when, the result here is a score-draw, with scintillating
vivacity the end result and insouciance the underlying emotive
state. This just leaves the G major Bach suite, and this performance
is certainly individualistic. She takes the opening very slowly
and I find her phrasing in the Courante unusual – the articulation
sounds forced and somewhat unnatural. There’s considerable power
in the Gigue finale, but overall idiosyncrasy seeps into this
The booklet is attractively ‘aged’ but the recording, fortunately,
is a fine one.
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