Cellists play a variety of instruments that they call 'Baroque cellos,' ranging from basically modern cellos with gut strings, a period bridge, and Baroque bow, to instruments where the entire set-up is altered. This is the first study in which the revival of a single period instrument has received such detailed consideration. Laird also offers many details concerning the history of the period performance movement in reference to famous ensembles and musicians.
Although Laird has been a performer, teacher, and musicologist for decades, he tells us that the genesis of this book was YoYo Ma's initial flirtation with Baroque cello in 1999. The author says, 'If a cellist as famous as Ma wish to play the instrument, then surely it had arrived at a significant point in its revival.' If Ma was the spark, Laird has certainly done his part to fan the flames with this celebration of 'cello culture.' Indeed, the book is something of an ethnography; starting with a discussion of historical prototypes and bows, it continues with 46 interviews of cellists, separating the sections into 'Soloists, Pioneers, and the Generation.'...His last chapter, 'The Baroque Cello...Found,' pulls together interview, background, narrative, and author's perspective to provide a refreshing, rather quirky glimpse into a formerly unlit corner of the early music community that charmed this reader, and may charm you, as well. * Early Music America *
...this is a wonderful book whose reach should extend far beyond the early-music community. The informal style and engaging conversation make The Baroque Cello Revival an interesting and informative book for any musician. * Strings Magazine *
This book gives a voice to dozens of contemporary instrumentalists who may be called 'Baroque Cellists.' It provides a welcome opportunity for players to explain and justify their approaches, and for listeners to understand them....I enjoyed reading it, and felt that I had learnt things from it. * The Galpin Society Journal *
The revival is part of the historical performance movement, which can be traced back to the early 19th century and has played a major part in Western musical life in the past four decades. Laird...interviewed 46 cellists to discover what drew them to the Baroque instrument, how they play it, how they translate their understandings of Baroque performance into practical music making, whether they have explored other historical periods, and other topics. * Reference and Research Book News *