Martinu, Locatelli, Frescobaldi, Popper, Weber, Ginastera, Klengel & Schnittke

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Frescobaldi,Ginastera,Klengel & Schnittke,Locatelli,Martinu,Popper,Weber
LABELS: Cello Classics
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Virtuoso Cello Transcriptions
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Leonid Gorokhov (cello), Bobby Chen (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CC 1002 (distr. Select)
Cello Classics, a new label devoted exclusively to cellists and cello repertoire, strikes out impressively with this recital by Leonid Gorokhov and Bobby Chen. An eclectic mix, topped and tailed by more substantial works by Martinu (the Rossini Variations) and Schnittke (the Suite in the Old Style in Daniil Shafran’s arrangement), it’s less palpitatingly intense than several of Gorokhov’s previous recordings. His fresh-sounding accounts lose nothing for their genial and relaxed character, but Gorokhov’s less emphatic manner will probably surprise if you hear this disc in the wake of his dark-hued, stormily purposeful Shostakovich and Prokofiev sonatas on Supraphon.

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Cello Classics’s remit will also profile great artists of the past, so it’s fitting that Gorokhov’s disc offers transcriptions by Piatigorsky, Piatti, Cassadó and Fournier, in a programme that’s clearly been as diligently and knowledgeably planned as it’s intelligently executed. And it’s good to find rarities like Ginastera’s Triste and Frescobaldi’s Toccata buffering cornerstones of the literature such as the Locatelli sonata. Especially good, however, is the trilogy of Popper showpieces, in which Gorokhov shows himself a deftly spirited advocate. A promising start for a new label that’s certain to excite cello devotees, and whose promised historical bias should also have wider general appeal. Michael Jameson