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Virtuoso Cello Encores
Gaspar CASSADÓ (1897 – 1966)
Dance of the Green Devil [4:04]
David POPPER (1843 – 1913)

Fantasy on Little Russian Songs [11:38]
Serenade, Op. 54, No. 2 [3:58]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 – 1750)

Air from Suite No. 3 in D, BWV 1068 (trans. Leonard Rose) [5:28]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797 – 1828)

Ständchen (Serenade) (trans. Henri Marteau) [4;07]
Franz SCHUBERT (1808 – 1878)

Die Biene (The Bee) (trans. Werner Thomas-Mifune) [1:17]
Enrique GRANADOS (1867 – 1916)

Intermezzo from Goyescas (trans. Gaspar Cassadó) [4:57]
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906 – 1975)

Tarantella from The Gadfly, Op. 97 (trans. Jusas Tschelkauskas) [3:04]
Maurice RAVEL (1875 – 1937)

Habanera (trans. Paul Bazelaire) [2:58]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)

The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (trans. L.-R. Feuillard) [2:24]
Jean Baptiste SENAILLÉ (1687 – 1730)

Allegro spiritoso (trans. J. Salmon) [2:29]
Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820 – 1881)

Cantilena, Op. 49, No. 24 (trans. Jénö Hubay) [6:36]
Siegfried BARCHET (1918 – 1982)

Boulevard de Garavan [1:37]
Jacques OFFENBACH (1819 – 1880)

Danse bohémienne, Op. 28 [10:19]
Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873 – 1943)

Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14 (trans. Leonard Rose) [6:53]
George GERSHWIN (1898 – 1937)

Short Story (trans. Samuel Dushkin) [2:59]
Maria Kliegel (cello), Raimund Havenith (piano)
rec. Tonstudio van Geest, Heidelberg, 5-7 November 1990. DDD
NAXOS 8.557943 [75:14]

This programme was originally issued on Marco Polo 8 223403 and is now reissued on Marco Polo’s stablemate Naxos. The recordings may be fifteen years old, but they come up with great freshness. Kliegel has made many recordings for Naxos in the intervening years – from Bach to Gubaidulina, Beethoven to Tavener, to name but a few. Most of these recordings have deservedly won much praise. Kliegel is a sensitive musician and a consummate technician.

Shortly before receiving this disc I had, by chance, been reading an interview Kliegel gave to Tin Janoff which has been posted on the website of the Internet Cello Society (http://www.cello.org/Newsletter/Articles/kliegel.htm). In it Kleiegel has much to say about studying with Janos Starker, about masterclasses with Rostropovich, about playing Bach and much else. I recommend the interview to all with an interest in the cello. In the course of it Kliegel explains why she is keen to play some contemporary works and not others: "The piece has to be written such that the cello still sounds like a cello. I don't like those pieces where I'm only allowed to play scratchy quartertones. There can be heartfelt ugly-sounding moments that express pain, struggle, or other human feelings, but there has to be beauty too. Alfred Schnittke's and Sofia Gubaidulina's music expresses this beautifully. If the soul of the cello is not recognizable, I refuse to play it, no matter how great its concept or how profound the underlying philosophy may be."

The music played in this programme from 1990 is actually rather short on great concepts or profound philosophy, but in the performance of much of it we can certainly recognise "the soul of the cello" - if not the greatest depths of that soul.

Kliegel’s programme is well chosen and planned in the way it mixes familiar and unusual, fast and slow, complex and simple. It’s more than a mere collection of cello lollipops. And the playing is tremendous. It would take much too long to enumerate all the pleasures to be had here. They include the playful macabre of Cassado’s Dance of the Green Devil, the bravura performance of ‘The Bee’ from the Dresden Schubert’s Twelve Bagatelles and the pizzicato of Barchet’s Boulevard de Menton. Kliegel plays the transcription from Gershwin, which closes the programme, with wholly idiomatic panache. In short, there isn’t a dud in the programme – though I usually find that a little David Popper goes a long way and confess that even Kliegel couldn’t entirely hold my interest through the more than eleven minutes of his Fantasy on Little Russian Songs.

Raymond Havenith is an excellent accompanist, sympathetic and intelligent throughout.

It is always tempting to be a little sniffy about this kind of programme of encores – but it is a temptation I found easy to resist in this particular case. Recommended.

Glyn Pursglove

See also the reviews by Göran Forsling and Patrick Waller

 

 



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