The Strad Issue: January 2010
Musicians: David Finckel (cello) Wu Han (piano)
Composer: Jalbert, Auerbach, Adolphe, Tsontakis

Following in the tradition of his teacher Rostropovich, David Finckel and his?wife Wu Han have?over the years commissioned a?number of established composers to enrich the repertoire for cello and piano, the fruits of which are featured on this release. Stylistically varied in outlook, the works all?communicate directly on first hearing, without resorting ?to facile simplicity or obvious effects. The?performers have lived with these pieces for a few?years?with?the result that although these are first recordings, the?performances are well honed and display an?impressively cohesive sense of collaboration.

Lera Auerbach’s Sonata presents a dramatic style cast very much in the Russian tradition, full of vivid musical colours. Finckel and Wu Han generate a high?voltage performance with an exciting Toccata and an intensely powerful final movement. Bruce Adolphe’s style is more Impressionistic, with lovely effects, and the lyrical atmosphere of Couple is expressively conveyed by these artists, aided by the clear recording. Pierre Jalbert’s brilliantly written Sonata seems very organic in concept, culminating in a fiery finale, and it is delivered with awesome panache. The most challenging musical language comes in George Tsontakis’s Mirror Image, but again the ideas are striking and concisely expressed, and the listener is led through the musical narrative with impressive clarity. I?am?quite sure that these works will be?enthusiastically taken up by many other cellists.

Joanne Talbot