Hindemith, Davidovsky, Britten, Sessions, Harbison, Perle

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Britten,Davidovsky,Harbison,Hindemith,Perle,Sessions
LABELS: DG
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Twentieth-Century Cello, Vol. 2
WORKS: Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 25/3;Synchronisms No. 3; Suite No. 2 for Solo Cello; Six Pieces; Suite for Solo Cello; Hebrew Melodies
PERFORMER: Matt Haimovitz (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: 453 417-2
Matt Haimovitz has matured even since his last solo disc a year ago. His playing, always serious, has acquired an authority and gravitas, especially suited to the Hindemith, which receives a strong performance here.

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This is an original programme: three established, discursive works and three freer, less familiar American inventions. The Davidovsky is wonderfully playful: when the cello part gets beyond a certain level of activity it sets off neighbouring electronics into sparky gestures and flutters of argument. John Harbison’s Suite clearly derives from the Bach suites, with a satisfying fugue and gigue- like dance in which Haimovitz delights.

He has a real feeling for the yearning pieces on Jewish themes of George Perle, on record here for the first time, and for the emotion that went into Roger Sessions’s Six Pieces, written for his son – though his scherzo lacks the lithe, nervous velocity of Pieter Wispelwey’s reading (Channel).

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In the opening Declamato of Britten’s Second Suite, he achieves that wondering solemnity peculiar to the composer, but the whole is a little carefully paced. His bow pressure is consistently heavy, so that notes sometimes have blunt ends and are bent into shape rather than drawn. Listening to Robert Cohen’s recent recording on Decca, one senses a compelling vision of the whole of this suite, and moments of soft resonance lacking here. Nevertheless, an interesting disc. Helen Wallace