Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Luigi Boccherini, Sandrine Piau, Ophelie Gallard|
Genres: Pop, Classical
Listen to Samples
The 'Snows of Yesteryear' Are Here Today!
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 01/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ophelie Gaillard is the most musically sensitive and expressive cellist, modern or historical, that I've heard in many years. Her style reminds me of the great Baroque violinist Fabio Biondi. You could describe her as the antithesis of Yo-yo Ma. Her playing is impetuous and fluid where Ma's is sturdy and blocky. Don't misunderstand me; Yo-yo Ma is a great cellist, who plays the cello as a big, forthright basso. Gaillard seems especially attracted to playing the cello in its uppermost range -- what she calls the 'eternal snow' range at the edge of the fingerboard, where the resin from the bow leaves whitish crystals -- almost as a treble instrument. She plays this difficult, tightly fingered range with amazingly accurate tuning, and then she plunges three octaves to the lowest notes on the lowest string, with equally perfect tuning. She also masters the Baroque-cello-only art of double and triple stops. Both of these technical feats are fully exploited in the four works for cello by Luigi Boccherini recorded on this CD. Boccherini was of course the greatest cello virtuoso of history, as proven by the music he wrote for himself, and the pioneer of expanding the instrument's sonic resources to the maximum.
Soprano Sandrine Piau, who sings the Aria "se d'un amor tiranno" with its fabulous soprano-like cello concertante, is the perfect vocal counterpart to Ophelie Gaillard, a musician first and then a singer. Some of the passages of this early Boccherini composition will remind you of the coloratura of Mozart's Queen of the Night, written many years later. Piau is as much my favorite female soprano as Gaillard is my favorite cellist. Imagining the two of them performing together gives me goose-bumps.
The two cello concertos on this CD are among Boccherini's most flamboyant and virtuosic, yet they are not mere virtuoso display pieces. The orchestral composition is as symphonic and rich in development as any of Mozart's or Haydn's. Boccherini's use of horns may indeed remind you of Mozart, but remember who came first! Listening to this disk, I get the feeling that Boccherini is the most under-appreciated composer of history.
And then there's the Fandango, the fourteen-minute first track on this CD. Boccherini wrote it as the closing movement of his two-cello quintet for strings in 1788; then he recycled it ten years later as the closer of a guitar and string quintet. It stand very well alone in the guitar/cello version recorded here. This piece is the absolute icon of "Spanish" music, incorporating what we think of as flamenco with all the idioms of Spanish classical music of the Golden Age. To paraphrase a poet,"After the first Fandango, there is no other!" (You can hear the whole Guitar Quintet #4 in Re Maggiore played extremely well on a CD by Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations.)
As an utterly surprising bonus, a DVD disk is also included with the CD, on which Ms. Gaillard documents her understandings of Boccherini, a much more enjoyable form of musical commentary than a small booklet of miniscule type. Could this be the wave of future musical offerings? I'd be pleased if it were.
Attention amazon! Unworthy as you are of my loyal reviewing, I'm about to do you a business favor:
*** All ye who read my music reviews -- supposedly I have over 400 'fans' -- listen up! This is the first "must buy" performance review from me in 2009. As soon as you've heard it, please come back to this review and comment on whether you agree with my appraisal of it."