Dolce Duello – A Truly Great “Duel” of Cecilia Bartoli and Sol Gabetta

I’m a bit late reviewing this album, it actually already came out some time ago.

In spite of the fact that I’m a big fan of Sol Gabetta (I’ve now seen her live twice, once in Lucerne and once in LA) and Cecilia Bartoli is obviously already a living legend, I presume it was the extremely cheesy cover (see below) that put me off a bit initially, and I kind of ignored it.

But then, this album ended up being a Gramophone Editor´s Choice, and was highly praised by pretty much every reviewer out there.

So I had a closer look.

Cecilia & Sol – Dolce Duello (Decca 2017)

Cecilia & Sol - Dolce Duello - Capella Gabetta - Andrés Gabetta 24/96 Decca 2017

Sol Gabetta is a very talented Cello player from Argentina, who now lives in Switzerland. And does the famous Italian mezzo-soprano Cecila Bartoli really need an intro?

So, what do we get here? Most of the album is a mix of Italian and German baroque arias from Albinoni, Händel, Porpora, or Caldara. This may look like a slightly random selection, they were obviously all chosen to ensure the Cello gets appropriately featured.

And the result is really very touching. The instrumental backing is Sol Gabetta´s own baroque ensemble Cappella Gabetta, with her brother Andrés as Concert Master. You really are drawn in by the purity and beauty of this album. My favorite tracks is track 5, from Händel´s Ode For Saint Cecilia´s Day.

As an add-on, we get a recording of Boccherini´s Cello Concerto. While I kind of like this concerto, I´d actually have preferred to get more of the “duels”. But well, we really can’t complain, this is a beautiful album throughout.

My rating: 4 stars (5 star playing throughout, I’m just not a particular Boccherini fan).

You can find it here (Qobuz) and here (Prostudiomasters)


Author: Musicophile

I'm not a professional musician, I don't work in the music industry, I'm just what the name says, somebody who loves music. I've been in love with music for all of my life, took piano lessons for nearly 10 years, and played in several amateur Jazz groups. I go to concerts, both classical and Jazz, quite regularly. And I collect music previously on vinyl and CDs, now on my computer, and am slightly OCD on my music collection. You can reach me at Musicophile1(AT)

2 thoughts on “Dolce Duello – A Truly Great “Duel” of Cecilia Bartoli and Sol Gabetta”

  1. Same here, I.m not a Boccherini fan, whilst I agree this a very fine recording. I’m playing double bass (jazz) and cello (baroque gut!) and of course I’ve been in love at first sight (and ear) with Sol, her sound and fresh smile 😋. I discovered the music this early autumn via the radio and next had a closer check on Qobuz. . . .
    I’m not a big fan of opera nor Bartoli though I must admit she has got the power and perfect intonation, Ok This CD has been praised all over on every media. Big business first of all, good’production and heavy promotion does the rest, that’s how things work. Does work a bit on my nerve, specially reading the first liner note describing the « duel » as a battle just like you would for football teams or tennis players : knock’em on the floor and you win. This is not my musical conception : as improvisers, composers, musicians share. And emulate, praising for higher level of consciouness, love and generosity. In the end it’s all about ideology : yes , a battle between the usual conservative, mesquine egotistical behavior, and the modern, progressive ideal of sharing and helping each other towards a better world… And this has become a do or die matter, or hasen’t it?
    Love the music 🎶, and … yes the packanging is a bit cheesy 😎
    – Jean-Nicolas Maron

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean Nicolas, thank you for your extensive feedback, I really appreciate it. For this album, best is just to the ignore both cover and marketing and just enjoy the music! I’m fully with you there.


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