The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Schubert: Arpeggione Sonata D821. Dvořák: Silent Woods, Rondo op.94. Janáček: Pohádka, Presto. Martinů: Variations on a Slovak Theme. Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances
A rewarding musical tour of central Europe
Wednesday, 26 December 2012
Adam Mital (cello) Olimpia Tolan (piano)
Schubert, Dvořák, Janáček, Martinů, Bartók
SOLO MUSICA SM 153
This programme of central European music fulfils a long-cherished plan by Swiss cellist Mital, who is, he writes, particularly attracted to the music of the region – perhaps through his studies with Miklós Perényi in Budapest, and the Romanian origins of his wife and duo partner, Olimpia Tolan.
Mital, who has recently stacked up a number of prizes in top competitions, opens with a graceful, dignified Arpeggione Sonata, beautifully expressive within its stylistic confines, and with a pleasing sound in the frequently visited high registers of the A string. The opening of the finale feels enveloped in warmth, with the gutty, burnished sound of Mital’s cello closely recorded throughout.
Dvořák’s Silent Woods offers a more Romantic intensity, which Mital’s playing fully embraces; though in the same composer’s Rondo, the breathy whistle as he luxuriates in the lyrical middle section is unfortunate. He and Tolan play throughout with a relaxed intimacy, and really get under the skin of Janáček’s Pohádka, with some particularly poetic piano playing from Tolan.
Martinů’s Variations on a Slovak Theme receive a fiery performance full of excitement and rhythmic impetus. There’s a wonderful feeling for authentic folk rubato in Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances, in Mital’s own arrangement based on the violin and piano version by Székely.
From the December 2012 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.