Sol Gabetta - Cello
rec. 2008-2015
SONY 88985342962 [65:55 + 61:51]

The sticker that adorns the jewel case of this release proudly announces ‘As seen on BBC TV’ – which is another way of saying that Sol Gabetta’s appearance at the First Night of the Proms this year saw her playing the Elgar Concerto. Her recording of it was given with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Mario Venzago and, like everything else here, comes from her quite extensive back catalogue. A canny if opportunistic twofer? A predictable mopping up operation?

Well, if it manages to reinforce how eloquently she performs the Elgar I have no real complaints about the rather glossy promo nature of the undertaking. I liked her sensitive Proms performance and I liked her recorded one too. She plays with a judicious balance between expressive and interior phrasing and a finely calibrated bow weight. I happen strongly to prefer her approach to that of Alisa Weilerstein. The Elgarian sweetmeats that follow include Sospiri – which doesn’t really work for solo cello and orchestra - and the inevitable Salut d’amour and the violin finger buster La Capricieuse in its cello reworking. Dvořák is represented by Silent Woods and the Rondo, both accomplished performances, but the Respighi Adagio con variazioni is less well-known and even more valuable. As one wedded to Gaspar Cassadó’s old Vox LP of it – he also included the two Dvořák works and the concerto, all with Jonel Perlea – I am pleased to say Gabetta’s performance is right up there with the very best. Tonal beauty is a given with her.

The companion disc comes from more than one of her previous discs and is a right old grab-bag of assorted things. Her Fauré Pavane is warmly phrased and she plays noble homage to Casals via his Song of the Birds. I’m not much of a fan of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s arrangement of Largo al factotum even when Heifetz is playing it, but Gabetta does it as well as it’s possible to do in this cello arrangement. The Winter movement from the Four Seasons sits rather oddly in this collection of sweetmeats but the performance is thoughtful. Elsewhere one can appreciate yet again how adept Auguste Franchomme was in his Chopin arrangements. I’m less keen on the cellist-as-singer versions of Delibes and Tchaikovsky. No, much better to forward to Vasks’ exceptionally beautiful Musique du Soir where Gabetta is joined by organist (and elsewhere on the disc, pianist) Irčne Tamacheff-Gabetta. You won’t regret the 13-minutes you spend listening to it.

There are no notes, but there are photographic reproductions of her Sony discs and track details though they don’t dig down as far as recording dates and venues. No matter. Gabetta is a truly splendid ambassador for her instrument; a cellist of thoughtful discretion, expressive intimacy, and lyrical purity.

Jonathan Woolf

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85 (1919) [28:23]
Sospiri, Op. 70 (1914); (arr. Sřren Barfoed) [4:52]
Salut d’amour, Op. 12 (1888); (arr. by Sřren Barfoed) [3:02]
La capricieuse, Op. 17 (orch. Sřren Barfoed) [4:22]
Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904)
Silent Woods (Waldesruhe), Op. 68/5 (1891) [5:47]
Rondo in G minor for cello and orchestra, Op. 91 (1891) [7:39]
Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936)
Adagio con variazioni (1921) [11:45]
Sol Gabetta (cello)
Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Mario Venzago
rec. 9-12 November 2009, Koncerthuset, DR Byen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Figaro’s aria: Il barbiere di Siviglia (1816) [6:14]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Pavane, Op. 50 (1887) [5:36]
Leo DELIBES (1836-1891)
Les filles de Cadix (1874) arr. Manfred Grafe [3:06]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Whither, Whither have you vanished? Lensky’s aria: Eugene Onegin (1879) arr. Manfred Grafe [5:25]
Prague Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Olivieri-Monroe
rec. 7-10 May 2008, Domovina, Prague,
Pēteris VASKS (b. 1946)
Musique du Soir for cello and organ [12:47]
Irčne Tamacheff-Gabetta (organ)
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
The Swan: The Carnival of the Animals [3:15]
Irčne Tamacheff-Gabetta (piano)
Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
The Tale of Tsar Saltan: The Flight of the Bumblebee [1:20]
rec. 2 July 2015, Evangelische Kirche, Niedereggenen, Germany (Musique du Soir)
Pablo CASALS (1876-1973)
Song of the Birds [3:42]
Cello Ensemble of the Amsterdam Sinfonietta [3:42]
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
The Four Seasons: Violin Concerto in F minor, RV 297 Winter [8:06]
I Sonatori de la Giocosa Marca
String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Opus 11: Andante cantabile [6:33]
Munich Radio Orchestra/Ari Rasilainen
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Nocturne, Op.15 No.1 arr. Auguste Franchomme [5:19]
Bertrand Chamayou (piano)

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