Mee-Hae Ryo / Amaury du Closel / Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra

Elgar, Saint-Saëns: Cello Concertos

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Mee-Hae Ryo's debut album on Deutsche Grammophon is a vibrant presentation of two of the most popular works for her instrument, Camille Saint-Saëns' Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor and Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor. Supported with a lush and warm accompaniment by the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Amaury du Closel, Ryo projects long, connected lines and a full sound to bring these expansive masterpieces to life in the highly resonant space of the Meistersinger Halle in Nuremberg. One might wish the microphones had been placed closer to the cello to focus attention on the details in her part, and the mix adjusted to bring more definition to the orchestra, but the sound is most problematic in passages where the mid-range textures are thick enough to absorb the cello's tone and create an aural blur. In terms of execution, Ryo is meticulous and technically adept, and her years of experience show in her polished tone and clean articulation. However, in such late Romantic repertoire, the emotional range is equally important, and it is usually the deciding factor in choosing between a good and a great performance of the Elgar, if not the slighter Saint-Saëns. Because of the neutralizing background sound, it's hard to detect Ryo's nuances of expression, so the interpretation is not fully convincing in this recording.

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