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David POPPER (1843–1913)
Hungarian Rhapsody Op. 68 (1894) [7:43]
Josef SUK (1874–1935)
Ballade Op. 3, No. 1 (1890) [5:45]
Serenade Op. 3, No. 2 (1898) [4:36]
Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890–1959)
Variations on a Slovakian Theme (1959) [9:23]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845–1924)
Sicilienne Op. 78 [3:28]
Papillon Op. 77 [3:10]
Edward ELGAR (1857–1934)
Salut d'amour Op. 12 (1888) [2:39]
Reiner GINZEL (b. 1952)
Die Libelle [3:14]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
7 Variations on a theme by W. A. Mozart "Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen" WoO 46 (1801) [9:17]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897)
Cello Sonata in E minor, Op. 38 (1865) [26:51]
Reiner Ginzel (cello)
Annette Weisbrod (piano)
rec. 2009, Great Hall of Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Munich
TYXART TXA17088 [76:05]

Cellist Reiner Ginzel studied with Karl Grosch, himself a student of the great Julius Klengel, and has performed as a member of the German String Trio for a number of years, recording widely. A versatile musician he has played solos with most leading German orchestras and toured internationally. Together with Annette Weisbrod, Swiss-born and a student of Adrian Aeschbacher, Walter Frey, Gza Anda and Paul Baumgartner, he has constructed a programme that includes Brahms’ Sonata in E minor as its centrepiece, albeit that centrepiece is programmed last.

There are pairings at work in the recital – the lineage of Beethoven and Brahms, the Czech duo of Suk and Martinů, and with Popper and Ginzel cellist composers. Fauré and Elgar creep in as representatives of ‘late tone painting in Western Europe’. Other than that professed programming conceit, this disc will have to sink or swim on its own merits.

Popper’s Hungarian Rhapsody, one of his most popular pieces, is a typical bipartite affair during the second part of which Ginzel plainly relishes the challenges posed by the athletic passagework and Weisbrod attends well to the cimbalom impressions. They take Suk’s early Ballade, Op.3/1 very seriously, passionately attending to its yearning intensity, at the expense of some security when the cello is pushed high. I prefer Michael Kaňka and Jaromír Klepáč on Panton (71 0370-2) who measure their approach rather better. Still its companion, the Serenade, is played with droll spirit. Martinů’s now repertory piece, the Variations on a Slovak Theme, is played with committed artistry. Fauré’s Sicilienne is thoughtfully played whilst the other side of the Frenchman’s coin, Papillon, sounds a touch inflated by the recording.

Elgar’s Salut d’amour is spick and span to a fault but the cellist’s own Die Liebelle is fortunately more nourishing – this is the Dragonfly, as opposed to Fauré’s Butterfly, as it skims the water’s surface with capricious direction. A delightful character study, in fact, in the best traditions of such things.

In this performance Beethoven’s Variations on Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen are at their best in sprightly mood whilst the Brahms sonata, well-paced, straightforward and devoid of egoistic devices makes for a solid end to a programme that wears an odd look, despite the stated rationale.

Jonathan Woolf



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