COMPOSERS: Bartók & Rossini/Castelnuovo-Tedesco,Bernstein,Hindemith,Sallinen
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Modern Cello
PERFORMER: I Musici di Montreal/Yuli Turovsky (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9973
This is a disc full of novel programming, realised with flair and expertise by Yuli Turovsky and his Montreal-based ensemble. Leonard Bernstein arranged Three Meditations for Rostropovich from his Mass in 1977; Turovsky imbues each with serene intensity and depth here. Hindemith’s Trauermusik (completed in six hours as a memorial to King George V) transfers ideally to the cello, and Turovsky’s rich tone eloquently throws light on its sparser paragraphs, while the final chorale prelude on ‘The Old Hundredth’ hymn-tune achieves valedictory grandeur through an uncanny simplicity of means.
Bartók’s First Rhapsody hasn’t perhaps the electricity that Starker and Sebök brought to it on their unforgettable Mercury LP, but Turovsky’s astute traversal is fully engaging, nonetheless. Aulis Sallinen’s Chamber Music III cleverly fuses two archetypal figures from Spanish literature. The resulting doppelgänger-Don struts and lurches through several popular dances (maybe his solo violin partner in the last is Sancho-Leporello) with amusing consequences before vanishing into the ether in Turovsky’s skilfully managed performance.
Finally, there’s Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s palpitatingly difficult skit on Figaro’s ‘Largo al factotum’ from Rossini’s Barbiere, made popular in recitals by Heifetz and Piatigorsky. Darren Fung’s orchestral transcription gets its first airing here, and Turovsky plays with devilish virtuosity and panache. Among the best cello discs of the year, and certainly the most entertaining. Highly recommended. Michael Jameson