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Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Arpeggione Sonata, D821 (1824) [26.23]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70 (1849) [10.09]
Five Pieces in Folk Style, Op. 102 (1849) [16.33]
Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Rondo, Op.94 (1885) [6.48]
Silent Woods, Op. 68/5 (1884) [4.50]
Humoresque, Op. 101 No.7 (1892-5) [3.20]
André Navarra (cello), Anne d’Arco (piano) (Schubert, Schumann), Erika Kicher (piano) (Dvořák)
rec. 1978-1980 ADD
CALLIOPE CAL 3614 [68:43]


André Navarra (1911-1988) made few recordings but is held in high esteem as a cellist. He made a famous record with Barbirolli of the Elgar cello concerto, eight years before “you know who” and many regard this as a classic (Testament SBT 1204). Here are recordings recorded a few years before his death when he would be nearly seventy. At its modest price and with an attractive selection I would suggest anyone vaguely interested in fine playing of yesteryear shouldn’t hesitate.

Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata was written for an instrument which has gone the way of the Dodo. The piece is usually played by a cello and works well. There is lovely playing here and fine interplay with pianist Annie d’Arco. Navarra was a very expressive cellist and the sonata certainly gets a fine performance.

In the Schumann pieces I have to express some minor concerns. The playing is splendid in its own terms but I miss a feeling of fun. One of the Five “Folk pieces” is called “with humour”, well not here. This is also affects the third piece that always reminds me of a hornpipe. This means that the contrast with the sublime second piece is lost. I turned to Rostropovich and felt it more in keeping with what I like in these works; it’s a matter of taste, of course. The playing is first class, it’s just that he obviously was a less emotional artist as also evident from his Elgar. In the “Langsam” he gives a particularly strong display with the full-bodied tone that was his trademark.

The three Dvořák pieces have a different accompanist but are executed with aplomb. The Humoresque will bring a gasp of recognition; I knew it well but not its title. “Silent Woods” is often with an orchestra but here the piano works well.

The sound is a little dated at times but it matches an “old fashioned” style. Despite certain reservations this is a good selection of cello pieces and a deserved tribute to an underrated cellist. I see from the brief and inadequate notes - I can’t find recording location - that more of his recordings have been released; I will be quite interested to hear them. 

David R Dunsmore






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