Sol Gabetta


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The fast-rising Argentine-Swiss cellist Sol Gabetta took the name of this recital from the "Prayer" movement of Ernest Bloch's From Jewish Life, which she has performed as an encore to great success and to an obvious emotional reaction from audiences. She went in search of similar music, found the path partially trodden by Pablo Casals, and put together a program that is actually quite novel -- of the music on the album, only Bloch's Schelomo (track 10) is really common -- and yet seems as though it's always been there. Tribute is paid to Casals not only in the emotive playing, but in the presence of El Cant dels Ocells (The Song of the Birds), one of several Casals compositions deserving of more frequent performance. The most unusual entry here, and perhaps the least successful one, is the selection of pieces from Shostakovich's song cycle From Jewish Folk Poetry, arranged here for cello and orchestra by Mikhail Bronner. It seems to be part of the general mood, but it's not; despite the theme, it's pure postwar Shostakovich, and Gabetta doesn't quite catch its note of tension. The much-recorded Schelomo, however, fares very well here, even with a switch in orchestra, venue, and conductor. As usual, a bracingly fresh program from this charismatic and intelligent cellist.

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