Francoeur, Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin & Vieuxtemps

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bach,Beethoven,Chopin & Vieuxtemps,Francoeur,Mendelssohn
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Zuill Bailey
WORKS: Works by Francoeur, Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin & Vieuxtemps
PERFORMER: Zuill Bailey (cello)Simone Dinnerstein (piano)
This is certainly an impressive solo disc from the young US cellist Zuill Bailey, an alumnus of Peabody and Juilliard and director, it says here, of the El Paso Pro Musica. (Not quite a ‘debut’ release as billed, since he has already featured on ASV’s recording of Korngold’s Cello Concerto, reviewed last month.) This is playing of strong character and sometimes blistering bravura – I’d recommend his magisterial account of the Chopin Introduction and Polonaise to anyone. But there’s plenty of subtlety and inwardness, too. Bailey’s supple phrasing and sensitive projection of line and mood in the Bach First Suite make this one of the most poetic accounts currently available, and the elegance and rhythmic point he brings to its final Gigue – as also to the faster movements of the delightful Francoeur Sonata – mark out his virtuosity as of the aristocratic kind. The Beethoven and Mendelssohn variations are excellently characterised, and here, as in most of the programme, Bailey is ably partnered by Simone Dinnerstein – a Peter Serkin pupil, and clearly a gifted artist in her own right. Bailey’s own cello transcription of a real rarity, Vieuxtemps’s Souvenir d’Amérique, clearly serves him well as an amusing encore (it’s a fantasy on ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’) and makes an appropriate conclusion to a really enjoyable disc. Calum MacDonald