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Sol Gabetta Plays Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns, and Ginastera
Camille Saint-Saens, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Alberto Ginastera
Sol Gabetta Plays Tchaikovsky, Saint-SaŽns, and Ginastera
Genre: Classical
Born in 1981 in Argentina into a French-Russian family, Sol Gabetta is a strikingly talented, brilliant cellist and, judging from her photographs, a winsome beauty. After winning her first contest in Argentina aged ten, sh...  more »


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All Artists: Camille Saint-Saens, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Alberto Ginastera, Ari Rasilainen, München Rundfunkorchester, Sol Gabetta
Title: Sol Gabetta Plays Tchaikovsky, Saint-SaŽns, and Ginastera
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Original Release Date: 1/1/2007
Re-Release Date: 2/6/2007
Genre: Classical
Styles: Chamber Music, Forms & Genres, Concertos, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830), Instruments, Strings
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 828767595122

Born in 1981 in Argentina into a French-Russian family, Sol Gabetta is a strikingly talented, brilliant cellist and, judging from her photographs, a winsome beauty. After winning her first contest in Argentina aged ten, she captured awards at various prestigious European competitions, including the Tchaikovsky in Moscow and the ARD in Munich. Now embarked on a flourishing concert career, this is her debut recording. The program pays homage to the countries of her birth and heritage, with Ginastera's "Pampeana" No. 2 in its orchestral version, and two staples of the virtuoso repertoire: Saint-Saëns' Concerto No. 1 and Tchaikovsky's "Rococo Variations," followed by three of the composer's less-familiar pieces. All display her natural, effortless technique, her warm, rich tone, charm, and youthful exuberance. Gabetta sometimes takes excessive liberties: very fast and very slow tempi, sentimentality and explosiveness, and a habit of swelling long final notes and tearing them off with an accent. She plunges into the Concerto with fiery abandon, but after a super-romantic first movement, the second is beautifully delicate, subdued and graceful. Tchaikovsky's Rococo Theme is all smiling charm; the Variations have lots of character but the contrasts are somewhat exaggerated. His "Pezzo capriccioso" is brilliant; the Andante from his first String Quartet and the Nocturne from his Six Piano Pieces, in his own arrangements, are slow and melancholy. Ginastera's four-part "Pampeana" alternates slow, sensuous sections with fast unbridled dances, all played with genuine idiomatic feeling. An exciting young cellist to watch. --Edith Eisler

CD Reviews

You Will Not Hear A Purer, More Beautiful Cello Tone Anywher
goodmusicman | USA | 03/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Cellist Sol Gabetta produces a pure, almost vocal, tone in her cello playing that makes this instrument sound more beautiful than I have ever heard the cello sound. Naturally, the cello's sound is deeper than that of a violin, but it need not have the harsh, wailing, almost abrasive sound too often associated with cello playing. This is particularly true of Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations, which is a sweet, lyrical work that needs more from a cellist than simply a dazzling display of virtuosity and, more importantly, should not sound heavy and mournful. Gabetta's approach suits this work perfectly, enveloping the listener in the glorious sounds of the cello, in perfect concert with the orchestra. In this performance, you can actually hear every note of the cello, allowing the listener to appreciate Tchaikovsky's beautiful melodies (based on Baroque themes). In short, you have never really enjoyed the Rococo Variations until you have heard this performance.

This CD also features Tchaikovsky's three other works for cello and orchestra, given stunningly ravishing accounts by Gabetta. These are not mere "filler" works; instead, they represent Tchaikovsky at his creative best, and it is wonderful to have all his works in this genre on one CD, especially when given such lovely performances. The CD also features Saint-Seans' Cello Concerto No. 1, given a fetching performance here, which highlights its lyrical qualities more than its rhapsodic qualities, which succeeds once again in drawing attention to the purity of Gabetta's tone. Indeed, throughout the work, she produces a consistently light and pleasant tone, as befitting music by this composer. The CD finishes with a wonderful 8 minute work by Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera from 1950 that is exciting, colorful and inventive. This recording is the first recording of the work in its cello/orchestra version (the original was cello/piano). Gabetta once again does not disappoint, delivering a thrilling performance.

The Munich orchestra plays very well on these recordings and the sound quality is bold and clear with a close focus on the cello. Perhaps the only drawback to this is that it seems that one can hear the cellist's movements and breathing at times. (If others also find this to be the case, please note so in the "comment" section under this review or in your own review.)

Those who have been waiting for a cellist with a pure, singing tone (to rival what some violinists bring to that instrument), wait no more! Sol Gabetta has just such a tone and these performances are an absolute must-have for those looking for a beautiful cello sound.
Wanted to Love This Recording
Michael A. Murray | 02/09/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"At the outset, let me admit that it would very difficult to erase the memory of Rococo Variation recordings made by cellists like Leonard Rose (the performance led by George Szell is a model of cello gorgeousness), Maurice Gendron (of whom it was said that "he owned the piece" and often included his own fascinating cadenza) or Rostropovitch (always a force of nature). Still, I was intrigued by this recording on the basis of a very positive review it recently received in Fanfare Magazine.

Sol Gabetta is a fine player who plays a burnished sounding Guadagnini instrument and is backed by a fine orchestral ensemble recorded in state-of-the-art acoustics. However, the playing is for me somewhat faceless. In a set of variations, such as Tchaikovsky's Rococo, where the music changes mood and character with each successive variation, I expect to hear hear a variety of instrumental color that matches those mood changes and a musical personality to assert itself throughout. I feel that this performance lacked an element of risk and excitement in the virtuoso variations and was too emotionally detached in the poetic slow variations. This performance would certainly win a competition but it provides little that is memorable for this listener.

Similarly, the performance of the Saint-Saens chestnut offers impeccable technical precision but it doesn't invite me to return to repeated listening.

The pleasant surprise for me was the inclusion of Ginestera's Pampeana #2 that concludes this recording. I know the work but only in its cello/piano version so I was intrigued by what the orchestral color lends to this marvelous music. Gabetta sounds like a completely different player in this performance. She displays coloristic flair and seems to meet the musical demands with greater confidence than in the other works on this disc. I would love to hear Gabetta "live" because I think the palpable personal involvement she brings to bear in Ginestera demonstrates that she is an artist of wider scope than the Tchaikovsky and Saint-Seans performances on this recording demonstrate.

I recommend this recording to anyone who has no other recordings of Tchaikovsky or Saint-Saens (they are seldom found together on the same disc) and to anyone who wants to hear Ginestera's work in the orchestral version played memorably with great range of color and that stamp of individuality that marks every great performance."