PROKOFIEV: Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 125; TCHEREPNIN: Suite for Solo Cello; CRUMB: Sonata for Solo Cello – Pieter Wispelwey/ Rotterdam Philharmonic/ Vassily Sinaisky, conductor – Channel Classics

by | Oct 22, 2009 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

PROKOFIEV: Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 125; TCHEREPNIN: Suite for Solo Cello; CRUMB: Sonata for Solo Cello – Pieter Wispelwey/ Rotterdam Philharmonic/ Vassily Sinaisky, conductor – Channel Classics Multichannel SACD CCS SA 27909, 59:45 ***** [Distr. by Harmonia mundi]:

This live recording almost belies its origin as hardly a squeak can be heard from the audience, making the ambient properties of the SACD all that more convincing and lovely. In fact, this recording’s audio attributes have to rank with the very best out there, and Channel Classics should be very proud.

Pieter Wispelwey is one of the greatest cellists currently sawing away, and his command of this music is evident. The Prokofiev, a rather awkward piece structurally (and still the debate goes on as to what to call it—many insisting that “Symphony-concerto” is the proper title, and I’ll not argue it) but with an assertive soloist all difficulties are easily overcome—and a sympathetic conductor helps as well, one who knows how to knit the various sections together. Sinaisky is such a conductor, and with this we have one of the finest of the almost 30 recordings currently offered.

But—and conscience dictates that I mention this—the EMI recording with Han-Na Chang and Antonio Pappano with the LSO how now been released as part of their “Encore” series—meaning at about eight bucks—and this 2008 recording is universally celebrated, coupled as it is with a marvelous version of the Cello Sonata. Those opting for the EMI will get no criticism from me, but they will be missing out on a wonderful recording of the solo sonata by George Crumb, an early work sounding nothing like the Crumb we all know and love, with the Suite by Alexander Tcherepnin a nice curiosity, though hardly mandatory.

If you’re short on cash and need the Prokofiev the EMI is a no-brainer. If you want a particularly virtuosic performance in fantastic sound, this Channel Classics release won’t let you down.

— Steven Ritter

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