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
see Kevin Sutton's review
of Volume 1