The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Nordic Cello Soul. Sibelius: Andantino in C major, Andantino molto in F minor, Lulu Waltz in F sharp minor, Theme and variations. Lidholm: Quattro pezzi. Grieg: Intermezzo in A minor, Cello Sonata in A minor op.36, Allegretto arr. from Violin Sonata op.45
No revelations in this exploration of some byways of Nordic cello musicHampus Linderholm (cello) Mats Jansson
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
Hampus Linderholm (cello) Mats Jansson (piano)
Sibelius, Lidholm, Grieg
Sterling CDA 1688-2
Early works by major composers are often hit or miss. Unfortunately, Sibelius’s juvenile cello works are entirely unexceptional: they are cast in a Romantic salon style, are pleasantly melodious, and encompass some virtuosic display. Hampus Linderholm delivers this somewhat saccharine fare eloquently, and addresses the technical issues adeptly, particularly in the Variations for solo cello. More striking are the Four Pieces by Ingvar Lidholm, which offer a fierce rhythmic current clad in pungent atonality and which are motivically and contrapuntally orientated. Only the final ‘Con Espressione’ brings a more atmospheric and reflective mood, though it too is garnered with piquant, hard-edged chords. The closely worked invention is given a committed rendition in this clear recording.
Grieg’s salon-like Intermezzo has an elegant charm to it, but his Cello Sonata is the towering work here, offering an intoxicating fusion of folk melodies with Romantic harmony. It’s a quixotic mix of the bold and lyrical – of honeyed melodic invention with furious virtuoso show passages. The blend is compelling, and Linderholm and Mats Jansson bring the dramatic theatricality of the music centre stage. These artists have perfectly absorbed the language, giving a roller-coaster performance. Their interpretation of the Andante is simple yet expressive, and they are exhilarating in the ensuing Allegro.
From the July 2014 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.