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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Cello Masterpieces, 19 Jan 2013
This review is from: Barber: Cello Concerto (Christian Poltéra, Kathyrn Stott, Andrew Litton, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra) (BIS: BIS1827) (Audio CD)
The Cello Concerto has always been one of Barber's most popular works, I have even heard it described as the American equivalent of the Elgar concerto, it is a strong and powerfully late romantic piece full of complex harmony and melody, and I feel, one of the composer's most rewarding for the listener. It was composed in 1945 and has the usual three movement structure with, for me, the lyrical central slow movement being the hub of this wonderful work. I have a couple of other recordings of the work, but in the hands of Christian Poltéra, the brilliant Swiss cellist, the work sound new and fresh, a performance to savour!
The Cello Sonata in C minor dates from 1932 and unfortunately has not been served as well by the recording companies as the concerto. It is a long time since I last heard the work and I had forgotten just how beautiful it is, with its clear cello line rising above what can seem at times to be an elaborately complex piano part, it is almost as if the piece was conceived as a sonata for cello and piano, with both instruments being given a starring role. In this piece Christian Poltéra is joined by Kathryn Stott who once again proves just what a wonderful and thoughtful chamber musician she is.
For me the only down side to this disc is the famous Adagio for Strings, here it is given one of the fastest performances on disc, more an andante that adagio, and while I have heard quick performances which I have liked, there is just something which leaves me cold about this recording, but it is not in the playing of the Bergen Philharmonic which is excellent.
But hey, if you buy this recording, and I urge you to do just that, you will be getting it for the excellent performances of the Concerto and Sonata. The recording is helped by the wonderful hybrid SACD sound and the informative booklet notes.
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