BLee | HK | 04/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My favourite Beethoven Cello Sonatas include: Fournier, Tortelier, Rostropovich and Casals. I like Fournier, and I like Kempff even better. Kempff is all the more attractive when he is playing chamber music. Prior to this, Fournier had also recorded these sonatas with Schnabel but the recording was historic. He also recorded them with Gulda, but it was not a great success, and the result: Gulda recognised Fournier as his superior, but he refused to record these sonatas again, not even with Lynn Harrell despite the latter's repeated invitations. I also like Tortelier, but the pianist Heisdieck, a strange mixture of Schnabel and Cortot, was rather erratic. He was certainly no Schnabel nor Cortot. There are quite a lot of Rostropovich's records that I enjoy: his Haydn, Dvorak and most of the Russian pieces. Nonetheless there are also moments in his Beethoven which are so tense and heavy-handed-- he and Richter are often on the other extreme with Founier/Kempf and Casals/Horszoweski in temperment. The two together are so exciting that after one or two listenings, one just doesn't feel like going back again, at least so for quite a while. Note that, however, we now have a 20 bit redigitalised version of Rostropovich/Rcihter with excellent sound. Rather the most that I turn to, despite its historic recording, are Casals/Horszowski (Schulhof only played one of the sonatas). Horszowski was marvelous and so was the collaboration. Casals is generally regarded as the greatest cellist of the century. There are plenty of justifications for saying this. However, be forewarned that if one is minded to prove it from these sonatas, he may well be disappointed. The best Casals isn't here. Nor is this his best record -- Casals had an exceptionally long career. But that is not to say these sonatas aren't appealing. To the contrary, even with the discount of outdated recording, I still prefer this to all other versions. The sound on the whole is far more than acceptable especially for the piano.Of course, they are other more modern versions available. Among others, I find De Pre/Barenboim appealing. But that isn't the same thing at all. I also go back to Fournier/Kempff a lot."
Kessia | Washington State | 03/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is amazing! I love the cello, but I never loved it as I did when I heard Casals playing the pieces on this album. This is a CD filled by delicious pieces of cello work from the man that made the cello a solo instrument, who brought out the tonal beauty and poeticism like no other I have ever heard. My highest recommendation."