Natalia Gutman

Beethoven: Complete Cello Sonatas

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Born into a family of prominent musicians, Natalia Gutman began playing the cello at the age of five. From that early age, her career saw a nearly non-stop, meteoric rise to prominence. Although her fame was geographically limited for quite some time, where she did play she was heralded as one of the most consummate virtuosos to appear since her teacher, Rostropovich. Her personality and approach to her instrument have been seen as somewhat of paradox. While she is a rather subdued, modest individual, her playing is anything but. Robust, aggressive, muscular, and vital, Gutman often seems to enjoy pushing the musical envelope as far as possible. Gutman is sometimes criticized for her rather free interpretation of rhythm, but this same tendency is also heralded by her supporters as evidence of her impassioned spirit and spontaneous. The present Live Classics album features the complete sonatas of Beethoven performed with pianist Elisso Wirssaladze. Both artists push for as much energy and forward momentum as these sonatas can take. Just listen to the exuberant Rondo of the G minor Sonata; listeners will be at the edge of their seats wondering if the breakneck tempo can be maintained. Conversely, this Beethoven set is filled with stunning, tender moments of keen musical insight, such as the effortless Adagio of the A major Sonata or the sublime introspection of the Adagio of the D major Sonata. Gutman fans will certainly wish to add this album to their collections, as would anyone who might enjoy Beethoven with a little bit of an edge.

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