WORKS: Cello Sonata in G minor; Cello Sonata in G minor
PERFORMER: Gary Hoffman (cello), Jean-Philippe Collard (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDC 7 54819 2 DDD
These two discs present Romantic and late-Romantic works for cello and piano by composers all principally known as great pianists and writers for the piano. The cello cannot match the range and volume of the piano but, interestingly, none of these works displays an under-indulgence of the cello, while understandably giving the piano elaborate material. And that’s where the trouble with the Hugh/Solomon disc lies. There seems to be little understanding that the musical interest is shared between piano and cello, and surprisingly the cello often seems overbearing and harsh. This is partly because in the Rachmaninov, the work common to both discs, Hugh is less than scrupulous with the dynamic markings, and in playing that never seems to stray far from loud, much of the subtlety of the piece is lost.
Not so in the marvellous reading by Hoffman and Collard of the Rachmaninov, a piece musically related to and in the mould of the Second Piano Concerto. The Hugh/Solomon disc offers two song arrangements by the composers of the two sonatas, whereas Hoffman/ Collard offer the Chopin sonata with the Rachmaninov. This sonata is one of Chopin’s last works and, although the piano frequently threatens to overwhelm, Collard and Hoffman make marvellous music together. Annette Morreau