This is the kind of "easy listening" that nineteenth century audiences relished
and, though cello aficionados might wish for something a little more nourishing
than seventeen popular encores, it is a winner.
The combination of cello and harp is well suited to this repertoire which,
with the exception of Fauré's Romance Op. 69, are all
transcriptions of pieces for orchestra or other instruments, though no less
enjoyable for that. Household pets such as Bach-Gounod's and Schubert's
Ave Maria (Marias?), Dvorák's Humoresque, the
Hindu Song from Rimsky-Korsakov's Sadko, Saint-Saëns' The
Swan, Schubert's Serenade and the Meditation from
Thaïs by Massenet and a Bach Arioso all receive respectful,
even reverential, treatment and there is no "playing to the gallery".
The pieces are mainly slow and molto espressivo in character, which
chimes well with Comberti's flexible yet relaxed approach and light
vibrato allied to the cool sound of the harp in place of the pianistic mannerisms
that tend to creep into such transcriptions.
Buy this for your favourites, and to prove to music snobs that they are worth
listening to, not only because a lot of people like them but also, when performed
as lovingly as this, fully merit their popularity and durability. Sing along
if you dare!
The cello sound is excellently recorded, though I would have liked to hear
a more crisply focused harp. Comberti is also the soloist in another enticing
recording in this series, Boccherini's five sonatas for cello (CC1101. Not
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