COMPOSERS: Goldmark,Suk,Webern & Strauss
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Turn-Of-The-Century Cello
WORKS: Works for cello and piano by Goldmark, Suk, Webern & Strauss
PERFORMER: Christoph Stradner (cello)Charles Owen (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: DIS 80145
If these performances don’t quite set the pulse racing, it’s not entirely Christoph Stradner’s fault. He’s chosen a taxing programme of late-Romantic and Second Viennese School works, several of which would create a stronger impression in the recital room. Take the three Webern works; the Two Pieces of 1899 pre-date his studies under Schoenberg and their impassioned melodic gestures are a gift for any cellist. The Three Little Pieces and the Cello Sonata came 15 years later, and reflect Schoenberg’s serialist tendencies. Stradner tries to capture their inscrutable mood, but sounds understandably cautious with their idiom.
Stradner and pianist Charles Owen make out a stronger case for the youthful Strauss Sonata, written, incidentally, in the year of Webern’s birth, 1883. Outer movements have plenty of bounce and exuberance, but the Andante ma non troppo finds Stradner working too hard to add lustre to melodies that don’t really need extra gloss. This duo plays but a solitary movement from Carl Goldmark’s Op. 39 Sonata. Stradner has the measure of this music, and he’s heard at his considerable best here. But lack of experience shows in music that can stand it the least; with more Goldmark and less Webern, this disc might have been convincing. Michael Jameson