Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Sonata for Solo Cello (1915)
George CRUMB
Sonata for Solo Cello (1955)
Jonathan HARVEY
Curve with Plateaux (1982)
Stroke (1984)
Panu Luosto (cello)
rec Helsinki, 1997
ALBA ABCD 135 [54.37]
Alba Records Finland

Luosto (born 1971) is a name unknown to me and perhaps to many others. Here he shows himself to be a player of great technical power and emotional resource. He gives the impression of being swept (and sweeping) along by the molten flow of Kodaly's masterwork. This work (scorchingly recorded by the great Janos Starker on Saga) is perhaps Kodaly's finest work. The music shouts and shakes with rage and remorse. This is a powerhouse of a performance recorded with restless confidence. Would that Luosto had encountered one of Arnold Bax's least known scores, the Rhapsodic Ballad (a work from the 1930s) also for solo cello. There was space for it here. Contrary to fear (expectation) the Crumb Sonata is not at all a modernist piece. Early in provenance it can be grouped with the Symphony and the Pocahontas Suite. It is at heart close to the Kodaly. Harvey's work is self-evidently passionate and has a theme of decidedly Irish contour and sentiment. It is likely to yield rewards over repeated hearings. Lindberg's work rasps, grunts, birdwhistles in the highest harmonics, grumbles and shudders in line with avant-garde tracks. I found it totally dense and opaque. The problem is my lack of understanding although the gypsying and grating at 06.02 is an access point. We will leave it there.

If you are in the market for a single CD of solo cello music this could easily be your 'man'. Luosto's name is one we will hear more of. Now let's hear Luosto in the John Foulds cello concerto with fellow countryman Oramo Sakari.

A desirable disc though undermined by short playing time.

Rob Barnett

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