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Wendy Warner Plays Popper & Piatigorsky

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, August 25, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Wendy Warner, violoncelle - Eileen Buck, piano

Review

Wendy Warner's exceptionally generous 79-and-a-half-minute program might seem like a good deal at first glance. David Popper's romantic style is eminently pleasing, guaranteed to offend no one. His pieces combine imaginative ideas (nearly every number invites a descriptive title, which many of them indeed have--"Dance of the Gnomes," "Devotion," etc.) with idiomatic writing for the instrument, of which Popper was a leading exponent. Gregor Piatigorsky's work--15 variations on Paganini's famous theme--is meant to evoke some aspect of various friends and colleagues (Casals, Menuhin, Horowitz, etc.). It is the ultimate showpiece.

Warner demonstrates a keen musical intelligence, shaping phrases with care and exploiting a wide dynamic range. Everything is technically assured. But alas, the overbearing intensity she brings to virtually everything she plays results in tedium. How much unrelenting determination can one bear? The simplest phrases are teased mercilessly, while the big moments sound as if one cellist and one pianist are trying to sound like a whole orchestra. The listener comes away from the experience feeling that Warner is not so much performing the music as doing battle with it--a warrior out to slash and slay all musical foes in her path. Opportunities to exploit her instrument's unique singing quality are all but ignored.

Further mitigating the pleasure this disc might have offered is the wiry, almost steely tone of the instrument Warner uses for Popper's Im Walde and the Piatigorsky Variations, a Carl Becker made in 1963. The 1772 Gagliano used in the other works is infinitely more gratifying to the ear. The sound of the piano throughout is clanky, and positively clangorous at high volume levels.

Annotations by Andrea Lamoreaux, director of Chicago's classical music station WFMT, are exemplary. -- Robert Markow, Fanfare, Jan-Feb 2010

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Product Details

  • Performer: Wendy Warner, Eileen Buck
  • Composer: David Popper, Gregor Piatigorsky
  • Audio CD (August 25, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cedille Records
  • ASIN: B002ED6VO0
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,193 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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I purchased this CD for the Popper which, s it turned out is well played and pleasing, but the real show stopper is the Piatigorsky which is fantastic. If you enjoy offbeat recitals you'll enjoy this.
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