Christian Poltéra

Christian Poltéra Plays Othmar Schoeck

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Compared with his eight operas and his more than 300 songs, Swiss modernist Othmar Schoeck wrote hardly any instrumental music. This disc coupling his 1947 Cello Concerto with his 1956 Cello Sonata represents a third of his concertos and a fifth of his mature sonatas. Thankfully, Swiss cellist Christian Poltéra is not only a consummate virtuoso with a big tone and a sweet intonation, he is under the skin of the music -- music which, despite its lyrical melodies and warm harmonies, still needs special pleading. Because while the atmosphere Schoeck's music creates is highly evocative and deeply romantic, it does not often linger long in the memory, and leaves not a feeling of place and time behind but instead a sensation of nostalgic yearning. Yet through Poltéra's heartfelt interpretations, that yearning becomes the very essence of his performances, and through his conviction, its intense longing lingers long in the memory. Ably accompanied by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra under Tuomas Ollila in the Concerto and English pianist Julius Drake in the Sonata and the encore of Six Song Transcriptions, Poltéra turns in performances that make the strongest possible case for Schoeck's instrumental music. Try the Concerto's Andante tranquillo: if its evanescent beauty doesn't transfix you, you might check your pulse. BIS' digital sound is rich, lush, and deep.

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