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Piano Concertos 1 and 2
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CD: Crotchet
Download: Classicsonline


Hungarian Music for Cello and Piano
Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)
First Rhapsody (1928) [10:47]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth (c.1841 rev.1880s) [5:46]
David POPPER (1843-1913)
Mazurka Op.11 No.3 (1874) [3:53]
Serenade Op.54 No.2 [3:53]
Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967)
Adagio (1905) [8:23]
Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960)
Ruralia Hungarica Op.32d (1923) [6:52]
Cello Sonata in B flat Op.8 (1899) [26:41]
Miklós RÓSZA (1907-1995)
Toccata capricciosa for solo cello Op.36 (1976) [7:35]
Mark Kosower (cello)
Jee-Won Oh (piano)
rec. Beethovensaal, Hanover, April 2006
NAXOS 8.570570 [74:08] 
Experience Classicsonline

The weightiest item in this selection of Hungarian works for cello, or subsequently arranged works for cello, is the Dohnányi sonata and it’s been programmed towards the end of the disc, just before the much different, fizzing Rózsa piece. This gives the recital a slightly lop sided look, though CD shuffling will accommodate that.
The Dohnányi sonata has had a number of recordings, not least by the first class Kliegel and Jandó on this same label (Naxos 8.554468 - see review) but the most recent of which comes on Bridge 9264 (see review) where Marcy Rosen and Lydia Artymiw are the protagonists (the others works are the cello sonata by Thuille and the two cello sonata by Tovey). The Naxos team of Kosower and Oh take a rather more broadly sculpted and extrovertly projected view of the outer movements of this Brahmsian opus. Tonally they’re broader and rather more communicative as well and their recording is brighter and more immediate. This pays perhaps the most dividends in the B section of the scherzo where they phrase with really lovely refinement – with delicate simplicity, to the Bridge pairing’s more obvious nobility of utterance. Similarly there’s greater shading and colour in their shaping of the slow movement. Kosower proves a most impressive exponent of this late Romantic work - poetic, refined, with a wide range of tone colours at his disposal. Jee-Won Oh is an adept and virtuosic partner. Together they are a rhythmically and tonally estimable duo.
The Bartók is better known in its guise for violin – it was dedicated to Szigeti and later transcribed for cello and piano by the composer. The duo dig into the fiss dance of the second part with eventful dynamism, its devilish, tussling animation being properly conveyed; they play the so-called alternative ending. The Liszt receives a measured, slightly austere reading; its monastic atmosphere is pleasantly pervasive. Popper, scion of the Hungarian cello school is represented by two of his pieces. The Mazurka was a favourite of Casals’ and he recorded it on acoustic 78s as indeed he did the Serenade, which was dashingly down set by Feuermann as well – to name two of the giants. More recently Maria Kliegel has recorded them adeptly.  Dohnányi turns up again in the shape of the evocatively shaped Ruralia Hungarica, which is better known, in string incarnation, in its version for the violin – as is also the case in Kodály’s Adagio. Fine dynamics and a keening edge in this latter performance. The fireworks of the Rósza, a tripartite piece that rockets deliriously into life in its last section ends a winning recital. The recording level is finely judged.
Jonathan Woolf

see also review by Michael Cookson



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