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Classical - Released May 1, 2020 | Paladino Music

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Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | CPO

Despite Pablo Casals' love and frequent performance of the Grieg Cello Sonata, the work has long been the target for criticism (even from the composer himself) for its exceedingly frequent cyclical use of material and the triteness of the third movement. Nowadays, the sonata is used more as an intermediary teaching piece than a highlight in recital halls. Still, solid performances of the piece are still possible so long as the cellist doesn't try to make more out of the work than it is. Cellist Ramon Jaffé and pianist Andreas Frölich unfortunately fall into this trap. In a failed attempt to increase excitement, Jaffé and Frölich embark on what becomes a tempo free-for-all with both musicians changing the pace whenever they feel like it and not necessarily together and at the same time. The whole experience is rather dizzying and not at all effective. Add to that the poor, diffuse, distant sound quality that CPO captures, spotty intonation from Jaffé, and occasionally sloppy playing from Frölich, and listeners aren't given much to look forward to. The one highlight of the album is the set of Grieg's songs that Jaffé and Frölich transcribed for cello and piano. While the compositional quality of these transcriptions is pleasing, the duo's playing remains uneven and unconvincing. © TiVo