Marina Hoover

Chopin: Sonata in G minor; Liszt: La lugubre gondola; Strauss: Sonata in F major

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The Chopin Cello Sonata, like the Rachmaninoff sonata, is an amazing and rare gift to the instrument by a composer known almost exclusively for his works for piano. This work is, in fact, as much a piano sonata as it is a cello sonata. Sound quality issues in this particular recording detract from that fact. The piano, rather than being presented as an equal to the cello, is forced into the sonic background at times and the cleanliness and precision of its articulation are muffled. Cellist Marina Hoover's playing is enjoyable enough, though. Her sound is quite focused, intonation is generally spot-on, and her musical insights reflect her pedigree. Tempo choices for the second and fourth movements are a bit slow and safe; listeners may wish to consult the recording made by David Finkle and Wu Han for a more lively interpretation with superior sound quality. As for the Strauss F major Sonata, sound quality issues seem to be less pressing, and in fact the cellist's position as the dominant instrument makes their interpretation of Strauss more convincing than most. The long, sustained notes in the second movement are quite soothing; cello and piano unite in the third movement for an energetic, sprightly conclusion to the album.

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