Han-Na Chang / Antonio Pappano

Prokofiev: Sinfonia concertante

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This is a fine recording of two vastly under-appreciated works by young cello virtuoso Han-Na Chang. She has the extraordinary technique to play the excruciatingly difficult cadenza in the central movement of the Sinfonia Concertante and the sustained tone to play the long, lyrical melodies in the opening movement of the cello sonata. Antonio Pappano is a faithful accompanist whether he's directing the London Symphony Orchestra in the Sinfonia Concertante or playing the piano in the cello sonata. Together, Chang and Pappano turn in more than acceptable but not quite great performances. Because in order to be great performances, they'd have to be deep interpretations, interpretations that go below the pretty surface to the profound depths. And while Chang and Pappano can play the music on their stands, they do not make more of it than a virtuoso's exercise. The brilliance and the beauty, the strength and the subtlety, the wit and the wisdom, all of the qualities that make Prokofiev's late cello works among his greatest late works are missing in Chang and Pappano's interpretation. And extraordinary virtuosity is not enough compensation for missing the real greatness of the cello sonata and the Sinfonia Concertante.

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