Pierre Fournier is remembered as one of the greatest cellists of all time and this collection of recordings from the early 1950's featuring baroque concerti is a welcome reminder to his testament in art. He is accompanied by the equally versatile and energetic Karl Münchinger who led the musical revival in western Germany in those early post war years with his excellent Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra.
Boccherini's Cello Concerto was famous in its now-discredited Grutzmacher Edition but Fournier plays with wonderful style and empathy bringing out the loveliness of the haunting Adagio in an inimitable way. The outer movements are played with zest and panache and the sound is quite excellent for 1952. I also greatly enjoyed the Vivaldi concerto which is another pastiche from some sonata pieces by Vincent D'Indy. Again, Fournier is pretty much in his element with each movement informed with a joyous quality that is rather infectious.
I was not so familiar with Couperin's majestic "Les gouts reunis" but Fournier brings a characteristic intensity to these grave pieces, again accompanied with knowledgeable zest by Münchinger and his Stuttgart players. Perhaps the most remembered of all Fournier's recordings is his Haydn Cello Concerto #2 which receives a fantastic performance here, preferable to his later more widely-circulated DG recording. As already indicated, the sound is excellent for its age with typical Decca air and bloom to the proceedings, albeit in mono. Lovers of fine cello playing will definitely want to sample this master cellist in this baroque repertoire.
Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech