LABELS: Black Box
WORKS: Works by Beethoven, Saint-Saëns, Handel
PERFORMER: Duncan McTier (double bass); Kathron Sturrock (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: BBM 1005 (distr. Complete)
These discs cover a wide range of music, all of it played with consummate artistry and nicely recorded. McTier’s solo line is accompanied by Kathron Sturrock with great sensitivity. And accompany is the word, for little in these programmes allows for a true dialogue, for example in the way the great sonatas for violin and piano do. So the priority here is to display the artistry of the player, in which sense the enterprise is wholly successful.
Whether it makes for a deeply satisfying musical experience is another matter. McTier finds a beautiful legato tone in his arrangements of Fauré’s song ‘Après un rêve’ and Rachmaninov’s Vocalise; but it’s no surprise that the most satisfying performances on the discs are those which feature music originally conceived for the double bass, in particular the pieces by Giovanni Bottesini.
The Tarantella disc is described as a recital of delicious musical bonbons, and the companion Capriccio disc probably says something similar. However, it’s difficult to tell because the print is white on beige and there are no paragraphs, just close text. From the listener’s point of view, the issue is clearly stated: how many bonbons, no matter how delicious, can be consumed at a sitting? Terry Barfoot