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Smörgasbord
Mats Lidström (cello), Bengt Forsberg (piano)
rec. 2000, St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Reviewed as 16-bit lossless download.
HYPERION CDA67184 [72:36]

A collection of miniatures would not normally attract me, but I have recently enjoyed two discs of French cello sonatas from these performers, and the unusual selection greatly appealed. Programming a disc of short, mostly Romantic cello and piano pieces without Rachmaninov’s Vocalise might be said to be courageous, to quote Sir Humphrey. I applaud the decision, not because of any dislike of the Rachmaninov, but do we need another recording of it?

It would seem that back in the early days of MusicWeb International that there was a shortage of reviewers interested in out-of-the-way works for cello and piano, given that neither this or the French sonata discs were reviewed.

The majority of the works are at the quiet and slow end of the spectrum – a few more upbeat ones would have helped create more variety. That said, each of these little known works is enjoyable. Which are the standouts? Allow me to choose four: the impassioned Scriabin romance, the rapturous Hägg andante, the lithe Sibelius rondino and the simple but beautiful Berkeley andantino.

I have heard sweeter sounding cellos than that presented here. Lidström’s tone on the French discs was better, so it may be that this is a different instrument. It has a somewhat nasal, strangled character at times, which certainly doesn’t suit the music. The notes, written by Mats Lidström, are exceptionally informative for such obscure music.

While I have some reservations, particularly regarding the cello sound, my overall impression is a positive one. I almost managed to get through the review without a food reference, but temptation has got the better of me: consuming all the courses here in one sitting may lead to indigestion.

David Barker

Track-listing
Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957)
Mummenschantz (Hornpipe) (from Much Ado About Nothing, Op. 11) [2:21]
Romance Impromptu in E flat major, Op. posth [2:15]
Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961)
The Sussex Mummers: Christmas Carol [3:06]
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Rondino (from Five Pieces, Op. 81) [1:59]
Berceuse (No. 6 of Six Pieces, Op. 79) [2:27]
Leopold GODOWSKY (1870-1938)
Larghetto Lamentoso (from Twelve Impressions) [4:25]
Joseph JONGEN (1873-1953)
Valse [4:34]
Habanera, Op. 86 [4:12]
Xavier MONTSALVATGE (b1912)
Canto Negro (from Cinco Canciones Negras) (arr. Lidström) [1:17]
Ernesto HALFFTER (1905-1989)
Habanera (arr. Maurice Gendron) [3:58]
Ernest John MOERAN (1894-1950)
Prelude [4:57]
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)
Liebesleid (arr. Rachmaninov/Lidström) [5:09]
Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
Poème in F sharp major, Op. 32 No. 1 (arr. Lidström) [4:10]
Romance in A minor [2:34]
Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959)
Arabesque No. 1 (from Sept Arabesques) [2:32]
Paul TORTELIER (1914-1990)
Pishnetto (Recital Etude No. 5) [1:57]
Jakob Adolf HÄGG (1850-1928)
Andante [2:19]
Albumblatt [2:46]
Lennox BERKELEY (1903-1989)
Andantino, Op. 21 No. 2a [1:20]
Mats LIDSTRÖM (b. 1959)
The Sea of Flowers is Rising Higher (Elegy for solo cello) [2:53]
Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764)
Air vif: ’Torture d:Alphise’ (from Les Boréades, Act 4) (arr. Lidström) [1:57]
François Lucas TILLE (1712-1772)
Courante (from Le Tombeau de Rameau) [2:29]
Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880)
Souvenir du Val (Romance) Op. 29 No. 1 [1:10]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Pièce pour violoncelle (Papillon), Op. 77 [2:29]
Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927)
Adagio (No. 5 of Five Songs, Op. 20) (arr. Lidström) [3:20]

 



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