Beethoven, Glazunov, Rubinstein, Offenbach, Popper, Chopin

COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Chopin,Glazunov,Offenbach,Popper,Rubinstein
ALBUM TITLE: Richard Harwood
WORKS: Works for cello and piano by Beethoven, Glazunov,Rubinstein, Offenbach, Popper and Chopin
PERFORMER: Richard Harwood (cello), Christoph Berner (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 596 4523
Richard Harwood, for more than 17 years on the British circuit as the most brilliant ‘baby’ cellist of his generation, has finally cut a disc. His prodigal talent (he made his debut at ten) was no mere flash in the pan: these performances reveal an articulate musician with zest, spontaneity, technical assurance and a lovely sense of line. He has, wisely, spent time with the best teachers in the world from Heinrich Schiff to Steven Doane, and this most enjoyable collection shows he is able to make the music his own. He and Berner are wonderfully conversational in this buoyant Beethoven Sonata in A major, though I would have liked more of a sense of forward impetus in the first movement, and the rhythm is not absolutely tight in the Scherzo. Their Chopin Sonata, a notoriously piano-heavy work, is poised and wellbalanced, but would benefit, again, from more forward propulsion. He delivers an (almost) flawless, breakneck Popper Elfintanz and a bouquet of charming salon pieces. As a calling card this disc announces a major talent. I only hope he’ll find sufficient opportunity to perform in what is a very crowded field. Helen Wallace