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
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.