Antonio Caldara was a cellist, but he didn’t write exclusively for the cello. In the early 1700s composers wrote what they were paid to. Caldara’s best remembered for his operas, oratorios, and cantatas. And those are the works that usually get recorded.
Josetxu Obregón has put together a program that showcases Caldara’s affinity for his instrument. The program includes some of Caldara’s instrumental works featuring the cello. It also has arias that include a cello obbligato. And there are some selections from his Lezioni per il Violoncello con il suo Basso.
Obregón’s early music ensemble, La Ritirata plays to their usual high standards. I especially like the sound of Obregón’s baroque cello. A good thing, since that’s the thread that runs through all the tracks.
Obregón plays with sensitivity, bringing warm, expressive tones out of his instrument. It does have a different quality than a modern cello, a bit higher an thinner, perhaps. But it’s still a beautiful sound.
Mezzo-soprano Luciana Mancini performs three arias with Obregón and La Ritarata. Her dark, creamy voice perfectly complements the cello obbligato in these selections.
The works are arranged to provide contrast and variety throughout the program. Overall though, my impression was one of serene beauty. A wonderful collection of works that showcase an under-appreciated side of this Baroque master.
Antonio Caldara and the Cello
Josetxu Obregón, cello and direction