My last review
of a Wendy Warner CD
began this way: “Wendy Warner is one of our most intelligent,
cultivated cellists, and after praising her superb recital of romantic
pieces by David Popper and Gregor Piatigorsky, I was ready to lend an
ear to whatever music she chose to offer next.” I should probably just
paste that at the start every time I review a Warner album, because
it’s still true of this excellent disc of Haydn and Mysliveček.
A warning to period performance enthusiasts: this disc has nothing to
do with period practice. The orchestra plays on modern instruments and
is conducted without the extra spunk we’ve come to expect from
bands like the Freiburg Baroque. Wendy Warner uses copious vibrato in
slow movements and cultivates a big, generous sound, the kind you might
associate with some of her past repertoire from later eras. If you are
a fan of the Marriner/Böhm classical style, you’ll feel at
home; if more inclined to the Haydn of Weil/Fey/Goodman, maybe not.
Christophe Coin’s benchmark Haydn cello concertos, with Christopher
Hogwood, are a combined three minutes faster than this CD’s readings.
I’m a period-instrument nut but don’t have a problem with
this album. There’s an elegance and sheer class which makes it
good, and then there’s Wendy Warner to make it really good. Her
solo playing is always pretty, melodies given to her cello always unfold
with stately charm, and the support from the orchestra is perfectly
good. So’s the sound. Mysliveček’s concerto is a wonderful
find, with a nobly sad-hearted grave
slow movement and, peculiarly,
a minuet instead of a finale.
In the end I’d probably take a more spirited period-style performance
over this one as a top choice. Christophe Coin’s is just about
everyone’s favourite but this disc has great merits. At the risk
of repeating myself, I’ll listen to Warner play just about anything.
If you are looking for an introduction to her art, best start with one
of her previous albums: Popper
I downloaded my MP3 copy from ClassicsOnline. However, if you intend
to download anything from Cedille Records, I recommend doing so from
directly, since they offer the full booklet PDF and a very
affordable option for FLAC files-only slightly pricier than ClassicsOnline’s