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Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 – 1827)
Works for Cello and Piano, Volume 2
Variations on "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen" from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte for cello and piano Op.66
Sonata in E Flat Major for cello and piano Op.64
Sonata in A Major for cello and piano Op.69
Maria Kliegel (Cello)
Nina Tichman (Piano)
Rec. Clara–Wieck-Auditorium, Sandhausen, Germany, 6-9 December 2001
NAXOS 8.555786 [77:09]

Maria Kliegel enjoys an enviable reputation as ‘the voice of the cello’ on the Naxos label.

She has to her name a string of excellent recordings, ranging from Beethoven, Brahms, Bruch and Elgar, through Chopin, Lalo, and Shostakovich to Schnittke, Gubaidulina and Tavener. In fact, her vast discography seems to encompass virtually every major composition for the cello … and more.

This disc of works for cello and piano further contributes to her already considerable reputation.

Maria Kliegel and Nina Tichmann, her duo partner, treat us to a muscular, but never overbearing, interpretation of three works by Beethoven: Variations on "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen" from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte Op.66, the Sonata for cello and piano in E Flat Op.64 and the Sonata No. 3 in A Op.69. Kliegel’s sumptuous cello sound complemented by the excellent and well judged pianism of Nina Tichmann, makes this disc a particular pleasure to listen to. Their combined technical and musical resources expertly meet the diverse challenges of the music and Naxos’s technical staff have unquestionably contributed a near perfect cello/piano balance.

The Zauberflöte Variations Op.66 begin with a bold, but poised statement of the theme and each successive variation is treated with the degree of imagination necessary to illuminate its very essence. The Sonata Op.64, notwithstanding the controversy surrounding its origins, proves extremely effective as a sonata for cello and piano. The duo set off with energy, in a robust articulation of the opening Allegro con brio movement and maintain an infectious level of effervescence throughout. The Andante and Adagio movements are suitably introspective and searching, whilst the Menuettos positively dance. The Finale brings the work to a spirited close.

Maria Kliegel begins the Sonata in A major with a truly regal enunciation of the unaccompanied opening cello theme, which Nina Tichman tenderly and successfully joins, before the duo embark on a vigorous and resolute voyage of the turbulent emotions of the first movement.

The impassioned Scherzo is despatched with the utmost fire and determination and in the brief Adagio, which introduces the Allegro vivace finale, the duo achieve a tantalising delicacy.

The concluding Allegro Vivace itself receives an energetic and technically assured performance, which powerfully articulates the underlying exultant character of the movement.

This excellent disc represents another triumph for both Naxos and Maria Kliegel and bears favourable comparison with any of the treasured, landmark interpretations of the ‘big names’.

Leon Bosch

see Kevin Sutton's review of Volume 1


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