Song of the Birds: Spanish and Latin Cello = FALLA: Spanish Dance No. 1; Suite populaire Espagnole; SARASATE: Zapateado, Spanish Dance No. 2, Op. 23; PIAZZOLLA: Le Grand Tango; GRANADOS: Orientale, Spanish Dance no. 2; GASPAR CASSADO: Requiebros; Suite; GINASTERA: Pampeano No. 2; CASALS: Song of the Birds – Nancy Green, cello/ Tannis Gibson, piano – Cello Classics 1025, 70:06 [Distr. by Qualiton] ****1/2:
Solo artist Nancy Green, a former student of Leonard Rose and Lynn Harrell, is quite the phenom in terms of technique and tone. It is simply a resonant, passionately intense sound that compels attention, and when coupled with these fiery Spanish works proves well-nigh irresistible. Solo albums are awfully hard to put across because of the sameness of the genre, and even though reviewers—including me—like to suggest that one simply play a few selections from certain albums and then move on to other things, well, that is not exactly a grand prescription for seamless listening. It takes a lot to create a concept album for a single instrument that maintains interest all the way through, and this one certainly scores very highly in that regard.
These are, as you can see in the header, some beautiful pieces that offer the chance for the cello to display both lyrical propensities and technical acumen. Green is superb in the former and absolutely astounding in the latter. The only reason that I short shrift five full stars is the recording itself; while clean, clear, and very warm, the cello seems artificially highlighted so the combined cello/piano sound favors the string instrument to a degree that is slightly displaced and therefore unnatural. It’s not a showstopper at all, and I would buy this disc even if it were mono, so enticing is the playing of both these artists. An easy recommendation for all audiences.
A rich reflections into Rachmaninoff’s oeuvre