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Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)

Vocalise Op.34 No.14 transcribed by Leonard Rose [6.46]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

Pezzo Capriccioso Op.62 revised by Karl Maria Schwamberger [6.34]
Wilhelm PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942)

Till Rosorna [3.32]
E[vert] TAUBE (1890-1957)

Nocturne transcribed by Mats Bergstrom [2.54]
Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909)

Asturias revised by W Thomas-Mifume [6.34]
Cuba revised by W Thomas-Mifume [5.14]
Sevilla revised by W Thomas-Mifume [3.53]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)

March transcribed by Gregor Piatigorsky [1.30]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)

Sicilienne from Pelléas et Mélisande Op.80 transcribed by Mats Bergstrom [4.22]
Berceuse Op.16 transcribed by Mats Bergstrom [3.44]
Après un rêve transcribed by Pablo Casals [3.01]
Mats Rodin (cello)
Staffan Scheja (piano)
Mats Bergstrom (guitar)
Jan-Erik Gustafsson (cello)
Recorded at Swedish Radio studio 3, Stockholm, August 1994
DAPHNE 1024 [49.25]

This is a cello recital with a twist of lime. A look at the head-note would perhaps indicate sweetmeats and transcriptions, revisions and adaptations from diverse sources but you’d need to take a look at the instrumentation for a fuller picture. There are indeed some chestnutty things here but generally in less well-known guise; two-cello Albeniz for instance and salon-style guitar accompaniment for Fauré. Whether this will appeal depends very much on strengths of performance overcoming limited recording time, and on the quality of the transcriptions themselves.

Vocalise, which is the title of the disc, is heard in Leonard Rose’s transcription. Rondin is a careful, scrupulous, rather noble-minded player though his vibrato is inclined to be occasionally one-paced and some expressive devices, such as hushed pianissimos, sound just a touch over prepared here. Peterson-Berger’s romantic morceau was originally written for violin and receives an attractive performance but of rather more interest is the trio of pieces by Albéniz where Rondin teams up with fellow cellist Jan-Erik Gustafsson. The pizzicato guitar imitations impart a suitably Iberian stamp to Asturias and though there can be some congestion textually in Sevilla these imaginative arrangements by W Thomas-Mifume repay the interested listener.

Rondin gets a bit of grit into his tone in the Prokofiev and this rawness is not inappropriate, especially as a peppery preparation for a trio of Fauré transcriptions. Sicilienne suffers from a touch of over-fastidiousness – it doesn’t quite flow with enough lyric direction – though he gets the right temperature for the Berceuse. Both these are accompanied by Mats Bergstrom’s guitar which gives a sense of salon airiness, whatever one’s view of these transcriptions. Finally there’s Après un rêve in the famous Casals transcription, which is warmly done, though lacking the expression of, say, a Maurice Maréchal; I’m not very keen on pianist Staffan Scheja’s rather portentously funereal final chords.

There are some biographical paragraphs on the instrumentalists but nothing about the transcribers or their transcriptions. Quite reasonable recorded sound. At under fifty minutes this is rather short value but you do get some unusual arrangements for unaccustomed instrumentation.

Jonathan Woolf



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