Eliza Ching / Amit Peled

Cellobration

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Despite the rather cheesy title of Cellobration, cellist Amit Peled's 2009 Centaur release features a diverse program of crowd-pleasing repertoire for cello and piano. Peled's liner notes indicate that the repertoire for this disc -- which ranges from Bach to Ligeti -- represents his own growth and development as a cellist. This explains the presence of some of the works here that are often thought of as "student" compositions and are far from technically or musically demanding. The challenge with some of this "easier" repertoire, like the Eccles G minor Sonata and the Fauré Elegie, is to perform it with the highest degree of artistic integrity, convincing listeners that there is still more to be learned from works that do not push the limits of technique. Peled, along with pianist Eliza Ching, does this admirably. The Eccles sonata is vibrant in the fast movements and thoughtful in the slow movements. Davidoff's nimble At the Fountain is played with remarkable gusto and enthusiasm. The album is certainly not devoted exclusively to "student" works, as evidenced by the more demanding Ligeti Solo Sonata, the graceful Couperin, Pièces en concert, and the high-reaching Casals Song of the Birds. In all cases, Peled's playing is controlled and refined. Intonation is quite solid, articulation is clear, and tone is powerful and projecting while still warm and rich. Centaur's sound is slightly echoic, but this does not greatly affect this otherwise enjoyable tour of the cello's sometimes underestimated repertoire.

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