Swiss-French cellist Ophélie Gaillard, who has made a name for herself recording some of the most challenging repertoire for her instrument, including the suites of Bach and Britten, turns her considerable talents to lighter fare in this album of transcriptions of short Romantic classics. She is accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Timothy Redmond, in arrangements made by composer and producer Craig Leon, who had created a similar album for violinist Joshua Bell. The pieces include opera arias (from Rusalka, La sonnambula, L'elisir d'amore, and Gianni Schicchi), piano works by Debussy, Satie, and Chopin, and other vocal, instrumental, and orchestral music by Fauré, Rachmaninov, and Tchaikovsky. Almost all are close to the top of charts of the most familiar and broadly popular classical pieces. Gaillard brings a warm, generous tone and creamy legato to this lyrical repertoire. Redmond's thoughtful accompaniments are imaginative and creative in pieces where it would have been easy just to haul out the tried and true, predictable approaches. Leon's arrangements are wonderfully inventive and colorful; he really knows how to make the soloist shine, and the little details of orchestration, particularly in the transcriptions of the piano pieces, add layers of depth that makes his work outstanding. The sound is full-bodied and nicely present, with ideal balance. The album would be a great place to start for listeners just dipping their toes into classical music for the first time and should also appeal to fans of fine cello playing.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins