JS Bach: Cello Suite No. 1; Kodály: Solo Cello Sonata; Ligeti: Solo Cello Sonata etc
Astrig Siranossian (cello)
Alpha Classics ALPHA880 60:40 mins
In this imaginative recital, the French cellist Astrig Siranossian honours her Armenian heritage. The first half is built around Bach’s G major Cello Suite, its movements interspersed with Armenian folk tunes, most of which she sings as she plays. Each keeps G as its tonal centre, each is chosen to fit in with the ongoing mood, and most are so concise as to leave one wanting a second verse. The close-miked recording can make for a slightly gritty sound in the Bach, but this largely settles down after the first movement.
Siranossian switches from a gut strings and baroque bow to a modern-instrument for two 20th-century sonatas by Ligeti and Kodály. The Ligeti is in two movements: first melodic and expansive, the next frenzied yet tightly controlled. Another folk song – a longer, darker lament – leads into the colossal three-movement Sonata by Kodály. Siranossian’s note implies that she plays this 1915 work as a kind of memorial to the Armenian Genocide of the same year; she certainly sustains a remarkable level of intensity throughout a performance that’s even more fiercely lyrical than that of her hero János Starker.