As lovely a cello recital as you are likely to hear, this 2008 Harmonia Mundi disc by cellist Emmanuelle Bertrand and pianist Pascal Amoyel features Grieg's masterful Cello Sonata but fills out the disc with their own transcriptions of the same composer's Lyric Pieces. But because Bertrand and Amoyel have felt free to mix and match Lyric Pieces from the various published opuses, they can create fascinating juxtapositions between works. So, for example, the opening Arietta, Op. 12/1, can be followed by Erotik, Op. 43/5, and the closing Remembrances, Op. 71/7, can be preceded by Vanished days, while the dramatic half-hour-long Cello Sonata in A minor can be followed by the melancholy Intermezzo in A minor. Better yet are Bertrand and Amoyel's performances. As they have shown on their previous discs together -- a fetching Saint-Saëns recital and a romantic coupling of Strauss and Reger -- Bertrand and Amoyel have a wonderfully unified partnership and a wholly sympathetic ensemble. Bertrand herself has a rich, intense tone with a huge range of colors and nuances while Amoyel is a full partner with a powerful but subtle technique and an unfailing feeling for rhythm. Together, they've created a first-rate disc that will please cello fans and Grieg fans. Harmonia Mundi's digital sound is clear, warm, and detailed.
Grieg: Cello Sonata, Op. 36; Lyric Pieces Review
by James Leonard