The Strad Issue: January 2008
Musicians: Maria Kliegel (cello) Nina Tichman (piano)
The relative rarity of Fauré’s cello sonatas in recitals is possibly connected with their dark character, the first written during the First World War, the second in 1921 near the end of his life when disillusion had taken root. But they are still laden with heavenly melodic invention and intoxicating harmonic shifts – his evergreen calling cards.
Maria Kliegel and Nina Tichman present an excellent case for these elusive works, the cellist particularly intense and dramatic in her depiction of the First Sonata’s opening Allegro, and Tichman astutely etching the disjointed piano part that melts into a lyrical and haunting melody. It is music that demands the player to be a chameleon, responding at a moment’s notice to a change in surroundings, and the art is to savour and instinctively respond to the quixotic pulse and fast-shifting harmonies, while maintaining the cerebral reins and mapping out the structure. This is exactly what these artists accomplish, not least in their depiction of the exquisite melody in the Andante of Sonata no.1, naive yet at the same time laden with regret. Likewise in the Sonata no.2 they establish an amazing flexibility, by turns fervent and detached, then ethereal and bold. Some of the smaller pieces on this clearly recorded CD are frequent visitors to the recital platform, although there are less established gems such as Papillon, which alternates dexterous elements with a sumptuous melody.
These idiomatic and sensitive renditions offer a welcome opportunity to engage with the bulk of this magical composer’s output for cello.