Romantic Music for the Cello = MENDELSSOHN: Songs w/o Words; DVORAK: Rondo; FAURE: Elegy; Sicilienne; CHOPIN: Introduction and Polonaise Brillante; SCHUMANN: 3 Fantasy Pieces; ST.-SAENS: The Swan; POPPER: Hung. Rhapsody – Shapira & Shapira, cello/piano

by | Aug 15, 2005 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

Romantic Music for the Cello = MENDELSSOHN: Songs Without
Words, Op. 109; DVORAK: Rondo in G Minor, Op. 94; FAURE: Elegy, Op. 24;
Sicilienne, Op. 78; CHOPIN: Introduction and Polonaise Brillante, Op.
3; SCHUMANN: 3 Fantasy Pieces, Op. 73; SAINT-SAENS: The Swan; POPPER:
Hungarian Rhapsody, Op. 68 – Benjamin Shapira, cello /Shulameth
Shapira, piano – IRC 202  54:50**:

This is one of those “see my little boychik play brilliantly” albums –
a mother-son duo, in the manner of the Yablonskas.  And yes,
Benjamin does play cello very nicely, thank you. The trouble is, you
see, I’ve been here (and everywhere, with regards to Johnny Cash)
before. As smooth and silken as all these pieces sound, there is for me
not one iota of freshness in any of the music.  I have heard
Popper imitate Liszt’s 12th Hungarian Rhapsody; I do not care to hear
The Swan again soon; I am tired of the Sicilienne from Pelleas et
Melisande, and I wish KDFC would find a new piece of music too! 

The recorded sound is very slick, the artwork and notes homey, and the
whole production smacks of a vanity-press enterprise that pumps up Mr.
Shapira, who ought to find a happy, little chamber ensemble to exploit
his warm and crisp talents. This is the kind of album that makes a
loving Chanukah card in the form of musical treats. If KDFC gets a
copy, I am sure we will hear it, or at least that darn Swan, two
thousand times. [KDFC is the San Francisco Bay Area FM station which
(at least a few years ago) was rated the No. 1 listened-to station,
even over the rock and news stations! And they’re doing it by airing
what Peter Schickle would call an “All-Pachelbel, All the Time” format
of big & brief classical hits…Ed.]

–Gary Lemco

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