“Rococo Variations for Cello and Piano” – BEETHOVEN: Seven Variations on the theme “In men, who know the feeling of love” (Mozart); 12 Variations on “A Maiden of little Wife” (Mozart); JIRI GEBROT: Variations on a theme of Beethoven; Variations on a Theme of Dvorak; MARTINU: Variations on Slovak Folk Song; Variations on a Theme of Rossini – Jeremy Findlay, cello/ Per Rundberg, piano – Praga Digitals multichannel SACD PRD/DSD 250 293, 64:57 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****:
I expected a rather boring collection of cello and piano works, however well-recorded in hi-res surround by the Praga folks. Instead, this proves to be a most listenable half dozen works which achieve a sonic richness with only the two instruments. The two Mozart themes, both taken from his Magic Flute, will be immediately recognizable to most listeners. The others will be less well-known, and Gebrot most of us have never heard about before.
Cellist Findlay came up with the album idea when he realized that all three of the above composers had written sets of variations for cello and piano. Beethoven, in his early works, was much influenced by Mozart, which shows in these two selections. Gemrot used the main theme from Dvorak’s unfinished and mostly unknown Cello Concerto in A minor, which explains why the theme will be unknown to most listeners. Even though the works by both Gemrot and Martinu were composed very long after Beethoven’s variations, they fit perfectly into this program of variations for cello and piano. The recording benefits from the usual excellent hi-res Praga sonics.
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