This is yet another terrific recording from Steven Isserlis. He recorded the two Haydn cello concertos with Roger Norrington in 1998 and I have owned and loved that disc for almost twenty years now. I think this is even better.
Haydn's cello concertos are full of his trademark depth, beauty and wit. They are also very technically demanding, but you wouldn't know it from hearing Isserlis play; he gives the music a vigour and drive which really lights up the quicker movements and both of the slow movements are simply sublime here, being full of beauty, emotion and an inner light which I can't quite put my finger on but which really makes them glow. He has written new cadenzas, all of which are adventurous but go beautifully with Haydn's music, and the whole effect is simply fabulous to my ears.
(I confess that I have always struggled to like CPE Bach, and the smaller works here, while being enjoyable enough, don't do much for me – but who cares? The Haydn concertos are more than enough reason to buy this disc.)
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen play excellently, with a supple vigour and empathy which complements Isserlis's playing beautifully. The recorded sound is up to Hyperion's usual fine standard and Isserlis's notes are as witty and insightful as always. It's an outstanding release all round and very warmly recommended.