> Andante Cantabile compilation 8.555764 [AAS]: Classical Reviews- March 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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ANDANTE CANTABILE: Romantic Music for Cello and Orchestra
STAMITZ Romance (Cello Concerto no 1)†† (from NAXOS 8.550865); HAYDN Adagio (Cello Concerto no 2)** (from NAXOS 8.550059); RACHMANINOV Vocalise‡ (from NAXOS 8.554381); TCHAIKOVSKY Mélodie for cello and orchestra‡ (from NAXOS 8.554381); RUBINSTEIN Melody in F‡ (from NAXOS 8.554381); TCHAIKOVSKY Nocturne in C sharp minor* (from NAXOS 8.550519); GLAZUNOV Chant du ménestrel(from NAXOS 8.553932); TCHAIKOVSKY Andante cantabile (String Quartet no 1) ‡ (from NAXOS 8.554381); RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Flight of the Bumble Bee‡ (from NAXOS 8.554381); SAINT-SAËNS The Swan (Carnival of the Animals)* (from NAXOS 8.553039); GLAZUNOV Sérénade Espagnole(from NAXOS 8.553932); DVORAK Adagio ma non troppo (Cello Concerto)* (from NAXOS 8.550503); ELGAR Adagio (Cello Concerto)* (from NAXOS 8.550503); BRUCH Kol Nidrei* (from NAXOS 8.550519).
Cellists: ††Christian Benda; **Ludovit Kanta; ‡Vytautas Sondeckis; *Maria Kliegel; †Alexander Rudin, with various orchestras and conductors.
Recorded at various times between 1989 and 2000: dates and locations not specified
NAXOS 8.555764 [72:54]


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And so they continue to come – one ‘compilation disc’ relentlessly following another: the market for them is seemingly insatiable. Quite who would want to listen to a disc in which Rubinstein’s banal Melody in F sits side by side with the slow movement from Elgar’s Cello Concerto or The Flight of the Bumble Bee with Kol Nidrei is beyond me. That having been said, however, if you were to discard half the items included, at Naxos prices, you would still be getting more than your money’s worth.

In raiding their archives Naxos have come up with a generous selection of outstanding performances, the familiar nicely blended with less well-known (such as the charming miniatures by Glazunov and Tchaikovsky). All the soloists are excellent, but pride of place must go to Maria Kliegel, who plays all the ‘serious’ pieces with real distinction. Her account of the Elgar is one of the most moving I have ever heard – a touch over-indulgent some might think, but for me absolutely right, particularly given the extremely sensitive and delicately shaded accompaniment which comes from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Michael Halasz. She brings her incisive grasp of mood and idiom no less successfully to the Dvorak and Bruch.

Of the shorter pieces I especially warmed to Vytautas Sondeckis’s account of Rachmaninov’s own arrangement for cello and orchestra of his Vocalise; and his Bumble Bee buzzes with tremendous élan.

In sum, if you’re looking for a ‘compilation disc’ which offers a broad and well-performed representation of the cello repertoire, look no further than here.

Adrian Smith


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