It's so nice to have smart 'cellist friends. This answers the questions I posed in yesterday's blog. Thank you Julian Muller! You are the best! Here is his email to me:
I read your blog post and a few things come to mind. I think that the lack of vibrato could be part of the intonation problems. In regards to the pitch sounding flat I not not sure whether they used Baroque tuning. Modern tuning is A at 440-442 and there is an average consensus in Baroque ensembles who try and adhere to certain performance practice of the baroque time period that the A is around 415. I am not sure whether they did this in the concert you went to or not. In regards to the squeaks etc. That probably just comes from slightly improper technique. They were most likely using baroque instruments, which use gut strings and these are very difficult to play on and to project a big sound. In our modern era we have emphasized a bigger sound with our modern instruments and steel strings and I think this mentality may subconsciously enter into baroque playing at times. These instruments are very difficult to play and the touch of the left hand on the strings has to be very light as well, so these could be issues for intonation and pure sound. I hope this answers some of your questions, its kind of difficult for me to assess the extent of your questions without hearing the concert itself but I hope this clears some things up!
All the best,