About the album
At the beginning of the seventeenth century the violin set out on its march of conquest as a solo instrument. Before then the violin was not thought highly of, but the French theorist Martin Mersenne (1588-1648) called it the king of instruments and praised it for its versatility. It lasted almost a half century before the expressive potential of the (violon)cello, the lyrical tenor and sonorous bass of the same family of instruments, was discovered.
Not without justification, the significance of Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) for the concerto has been compared to that of Haydn for the symphony.
Also under the influence of virtuoso violin music, which was developing fast, composers of the 17th century were inspired to write solo music for this ‘bass violin’, too. In turn, this required ‘adjustments’ to the instrument, which was unsuit-able for virtuoso solo play, we see therefore that violin builders in the second half of the 17th century started experimenting. In almost all cases this concerned a scaling down of the instruments. Their tuning also varied. These variants were known by varying names. In 1665 we find the term of ‘violoncello’ for the first time (with G.C. Arresti).
Of Antonio Vivaldi, the most influential, original and prolific composer of instrumental music for cello of the first half of the 18th century, we know nine cello sonatas. Then came Luigi Boccherini, a cellist but above all a visionary composer. He introduced the thumb position and thereby established a new historical record with b’’ flat as the highest note. Luigi Boccherini (19 February 1743 - 28 May 1805) was already a celebrity during his lifetime. This contemporary of Mozart made his début as a cellist at the age of 13 in his native town of Lucca and soon became a respected virtuoso in local musical circles.
Boccherini was an extraordinarily fertile composer, especially of chamber music. He wrote 32 sonatas for cello. In this CD box we can listen to four of them. Vivaldi wrote some very special pieces, but as far as Lucia Swarts is concerned Boccherini leaves him far behind. That cantilena, that Italian singing style, Boccherini could bring it out with greater prominence than any other composer. In the past the cello functioned as a bass instrument. With Vivaldi it acquired something of a tenor voice, but in the end it was Boccherini who knew how to use it as a perfect alto instrument. According to Lucia Swarts to cellists Boccherini is supremely important.
Also in this CD box are Italian 18th century cello pieces by Platti, Jacchini, Leo and Porpora.
De beste 18e-eeuwse Italiaanse cellomuziek
Deze verzameling bevat drie heruitgaven van losse albums. De werken worden uitgevoerd door celliste Lucia Swarts, klavecinist Siebe Henstra (op het tweede album) en ensemble Teatro Lirico onder leiding van Stephen Stubbs. De uitvoerenden zijn beroemde musici op het terrein van oude muziek. Hun enthousiasme, passie en kennis van deze muziek kan in elke noot gehoord worden.
Het eerste album laat de opmars van de violoncello als solo-instrument horen, in concerto’s uit de barok in verschillende Italiaanse stijlen.
Het tweede album bevat zes van de negen cellosonates van Antonio Vivaldi. De zes sonates op het album zijn werden in 1740 of 1741 gepubliceerd in Parijs, toen de componist nog leefde. Omdat Vivaldi besloten had om zijn werk niet meer te publiceren, moet aangenomen worden dat de uitgever het manuscript van een derde partij heeft gekregen. Lucia Swarts heeft de editie uit Parijs vergeleken met drie manuscripten en de editie van W. Kolneder, om de beste oplossingen te vinden.
Na Vivaldi kwam Luigi Boccherini, een van de belangrijkste componisten voor de cello. Boccherini was al tijdens zijn leven beroemd. Op dertienjarige leeftijd debuteerde hij als cellist in zijn geboorteplaats Lucca, en werd al gauw een gerespecteerde virtuoze muscicus. Boccherini componeerde 32 cellosonates, waarvan er op het derde album vier te beluisteren zijn.
Diese Wiederveröffentlichung vereint drei wundervolle Einspielungen, die sich ganz dem italienischen Cellorepertoire widmen. Lucia Swarts gehört zu den renommiertesten Cellistinnen ihrer Generation.
Lucia Swarts studied with Anner Bijlsma and Lidewij Scheifes at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, where she acquired her solo degree in 1985. In the same year she gave a debut recital in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in the series New Vintage for talented young musicians. Lucia Swarts specialized in chamber music, both on modern and on baroque cello. She is first cellist in the Baroque Orchestra of the Netherlands Bach Society and forms a duo with harpsichord player Siebe Henstra. She is a member of the Chromatic Quartet and Quartetto Amsterdam, and she frequently plays in ensembles for contemporary music, such as the Schönberg Ensemble and the Nieuw Ensemble.
In June 1996, at the Holland Festival, she was one of the solo players in the opera A King, riding by Klaas de Vries. She worked with baroque specialists like Gustave Leonhardt, Ton Koopman and René Jacobs, but also with specialists in modern music like Reinbert de Leeuw and Oliver Knussen, performing in many CD’s, radio and television recordings. Lucia Swarts teaches at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and at the Conservatory of Groningen. She also gives courses in The Netherlands and abroad, including the annual Festival of Ancient Music in Daroca (Spain).
Lutenist Stephen Stubbs, co-founder and co-director of Tragicomedia, has been a leader in the field of seventeenth century music for the last decade. As soloist, accompanist, ensemble leader and director, he has explored every corner of the field of baroque music. Increasingly, operas of this period have been at the centre of his interests, directing stage performances of the three Monteverdi operas, as well as planned stagings of Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo for the Boston Early Music Festival, in Tanglewood and in Drottningholm. The logical step in realising his passion for baroque opera was the establishment of an orchestra, dedicated to opera from the early baroque (Purcell, Lully, Cavalli a.o.) to the late baroque (Händel, Vivaldi, Rameau a.o.). This has led to the foundation of Teatro Lirico, a famous music ensemble world wide.