Britten, Bach, Ligeti

Miklós Perényi

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Britten, Bach, Ligeti Review

by Blair Sanderson

As more cellists record albums of solo works, there appears to be a growing demand for an expanded repertoire, beyond the handful of pieces that are usually performed. For this 2012 release on ECM New Series, Miklós Perényi has chosen three works of varying degrees of familiarity that show an awareness of the need to move into unexplored areas. While the Suite No. 6 in D major of J.S. Bach is one of the most frequently played of all cello masterpieces, its inclusion here at least grounds the program so the cross-over audience ECM cultivates can find some moorings. Somewhat less widely known is Benjamin Britten's Third Suite, Op. 87, which is emotionally involving, entertaining for its sly allusions to Bach, and tonally accessible, but it is not played so often that it has become an obvious choice. The freshest sounding work is the Sonate by György Ligeti, which blends traditional cello gestures and virtuoso passagework with some extended modernist techniques to create a quirky mix of old and new. While Ligeti's music seems to transcend conventional tonality, it is far from atonal, and most listeners will be able to appreciate its energy, color, and charm. Perény is clearly a master in all aspects of this recital, and he plays all three works with commitment and vitality.

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