Vibrez: Arrangements

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Vibrez
LABELS: Edition Classics
ALBUM TITLE: Vibrez
WORKS: Arrangements of Wagner, Liszt, Wieniawski, Mendelssohn, JS Bach, Barber, Schubert and Sollima
PERFORMER: Cellophony
CATALOGUE NO: EDN1047

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As the cellos of the Berlin Philharmonic have proved, a 12-strong ensemble of high-calibre players can aspire to a string orchestra’s palette. Cellophony is a mere octet (all ex-Guildhall players), but these imaginative arrangements succeed in creating the illusion of orchestral range and depth, particularly in the beautifully realised Prelude to Act 1 of Tristan and Isolde, and in the Samuel Barber Adagio, which sounds fresh and unhackneyed. Elsewhere, the scale is more intimate, with songs from Schubert’s Schwanengesang, featuring poignant soloist with subtle accompaniment. Liszt’s La lugubre gondola has a suitably veiled menace, but an arrangement of Bach’s Prelude No. 11 in F sounds too congested.

If one were in any doubt about the virtuosity of these players, then their scintillating performance of Wieniawski’s Scherzo-tarantelle lays that to rest: judging from the sound alone, one would be hard-pressed to believe there was no violin or viola playing in this display of lightning response. Their concert repertoire features Ligeti and Boulez, so it’s a shame only one original work appears here, Sollima’s pleasantly playful Violoncelles, vibrez! An impressive debut.

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Helen Wallace