The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Schumann: Adagio and Allegro in A flat major op.70, Fantasiestücke op.73, Fünf Stücke im Volkston op.102, Märchenbilder op.113 (arr. Piatti). Schubert: Arpeggione Sonata in A minor D821
Thursday, 01 February 2007
Antonio Meneses (cello) Gérard Wyss (piano)
Avie AV 2112
Antonio Meneses brings a tender beauty almost burdened with sadness to the disc’s opening Schumann Adagio, but this is soon swept aside with the passionate outburst that launches the ensuing Allegro. The music of this beloved dreamer rests safely in the tonal quality of Meneses’s Alessandro Gagliano instrument of 1730. With his generous vibrato it sings eloquently through the finely spun phrases characterising the four Schumann works on the disc.
His innate feeling for chamber music (he is a member of the Beaux Arts Trio) and a due regard to dynamics knit together an effective dialogue between cello and piano in the three Fantasiestücke. Tempos here, and throughout the disc, are unhurried and bring rewards in the gentle lullaby of the five Volkston pieces, though I would have preferred more outgoing joy in the final dance.
Schubert offers a more vital role for the piano: Gérard Wyss’s playing is always technically immaculate, in good taste and provides a most imaginative counterpoint to Meneses. The opening Allegro moderato of the ‘Arpeggione’ dances with joy and elegance, and phrases are shaped with a nice sense of spontaneity. The players avoid the bucolic humour in their more relaxed view of the finale, where Meneses’s deft left hand brings clarity to the fast running passages.
With so much musicality to enjoy in this disc, I just wish some of the moments of more questionable intonation in notoriously demanding passages had been edited out. The recording is immaculately balanced, with perhaps a gain in warmth at the expense of brightness.
From the February 2007 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.