Silvia Chiesa

Chopin, Debussy, Azio Corghi: Cello Sonatas

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The first feature of this Concerto album mentioned in its liner notes is the proprietary recording and mastering technique, which includes recording using 32-bit digital sound and mastering at 64-bits. Impressive technology to be sure, but what affect does it have on the actual music being performed? Unfortunately for listeners, better technology does not mean a better album. Concerto's sound is extremely sterile and much too close. In the case of this album with cellist Silvia Chiesa and pianist Maurizio Baglini, it's analogous to listening to a recital with one's ear pressed against the cello. Every slight movement, every shift, every fingerfall…everything is audible. What's missing for Chiesa's performance is any bloom or expansiveness to her sound. With sonatas by Chopin and Debussy, this kind of barren sound is rather off-putting. Her technical execution is generally strong; intonation is usually solid, shifts are clean, and careful attention is paid to dynamics and articulation. Interplay between cello and piano is fluid and dynamic. The album also includes an exciting work from 2006 by composer Azio Corghi entitled D'après…cinq chansons d'èlite was dedicated to the Chiesa/Baglini duo, which does great justice to a composition that cleverly incorporates French Revolution songs into a dynamic, provocatively rhythmic backdrop. While listeners interested in new repertoire for the instrument will find this album intriguing for the Corghi alone, the disappointing sound quality throughout should steer them elsewhere for superior recordings of the Chopin and Debussy sonatas.

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