Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Garth, John. (1721-1810) Six Concertos for Violoncello, opus 1. Premiere recordings.

New acquisition.
Bought in 2017.
First listen: 2-5-2017.
Label: Divine Art. (2cd's)
Recording dates: December 2006.
Recording venue: The Picture Gallery, Paxton House, Berwick upon Tweed, England.
Recording engineer: Philip Hobbs.
Running time: 43:33& 50:11.
Relevance to me: Well worth having.

Works performed:
Six Concertos for violoncello.
(With four violins, Alto viola, and BC)

Solo Cello:
Richard Tunnicliffe.
Pitch A'415Hz. (Temperament Young)
Cadenzas bt RT.

Works performed by:
The Avison Ensemble, on period instruments.

John Garth is forgotten, that's a fact. Rediscovered though, and recorded. I think this composer deserves this. He was born in Durham and mostly active in and around that place. It could be that he was a pupil of Charles Avison, but this is not sure. His output is relatively extensive, and a large number of his music was published. He enjoyed much popularity and his concerts were highly successful. He was among others befriended with William Herschel, also a fine composer in his own right. His opus 1 concertos were specifically written as a vehicle for him to demonstrate his abilities as a cellist in his own concertos. Premiered in 1753 and well received. You hear in an instant that these concertos have their roots in the old fashioned Concerto Grosso, and they are certainly influenced by Charles Avison. This is not revolutionary music, but the movements are highly dynamic and have vibrant melody lines. There is a balanced air and harmony that captures your imagination quite quickly. Honestly communicative of its intent and so deliciously free of self conscious melodramatics. You are confronted with the irresistible force and mild power of this composer's creativity, brilliant, but not overly so. Individual instruments are given ample space to unfold themselves. There is a natural expressive exuberance that leads to sunny and happy music. Tunnicliffe has a firm control and produces a gorgeous tone, coupled with the musical expertise of the renown Avison Ensemble this double CD is a delight to listen to.
The recording is first class.



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