The Strad Issue: January 2007
Musicians: Maria Kliegel (cello) Nina Tichman (piano)
Composer: Orr, Danzi, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Cassado? & Dvorák
Maria Kliegel fulfils all the requisite technical stipulations for her chosen repertoire and in equal measure delivers interpretations
of bravura and rich characterisation. The well-balanced recording and excellent accompaniment from Nina Tichman add to the impressive standard of playing. And yet some of the works don’t quite deliver as showpieces.
Dvo?ák’s Silent Woods certainly requires tremendous control and an ability to engender subtle colour through vibrato. The same composer’s Sonatina (originally a didactic piece for violin) also calls for considerable musical skill in finely honing the Slavic invention cast in charming lilting melodies. These aspects are all astutely perceived and delivered here. But neither of these works presents the spectacle of daredevil pyrotechnics and flamboyant invention that one normally associates with virtuosity. For this, one must turn to Castelnuovo- Tedesco’s ‘Figaro’ Variations. Full of wit and littered with scalic passages this work is surely guaranteed to bring the house down.
By contrast, Buxton Orr’s Carmen Fantasy seems more self- conscious. It clearly owes much to the rival versions for violin from Waxman and Sarasate, but the cello tessitura doesn’t always lie easily with the material. Kliegel and Tichman dutifully serve this version and subsequently portray the intricate melodic ornamentation of Danzi’s ‘Don Giovanni’ Variations effectively, but both works are too respectful of their original themes to ignite the imagination.