Jean-Louis Duport: Concertos pour violoncelle

Raphaël Pidou, Stradivaria, Daniel Cuillier
Mirare MIR 394

I slightly feared death-by-passagework from this CD, but need not have worried! Yes, there are passages of galant predictability, but also many striking moments. A sudden high (or low) passage; an intervention from the woodwind; a striking chord. And then there’s the constant and spectacular virtuosity of the solo line – wow! Having said that, however, I enjoyed most the graceful melodic writing in the middle movements and the curiously melancholic finale to Concerto no. 4 (Duport wrote six, of which 1, 4 and 5 are presented here.)

The booklet (French, English & German) includes biographies of the composer and the artists but offers little more than a paragraph of generalities about the music. And the English, though without actual errors, is curiously stilted: translators need to remember that their job includes producing a decent piece of prose.

Until now, this composer has perhaps been most famous for being a previous owner of a Stradivarius cello more recently played by Rostropovich. We should now start to value his music as well.

David Hansell