Raphael Wallfisch

Beethoven: Kreutzer Sonata Op. 47

(CD - Cello Classics #1014)

Review by

The mark of a good transcription is that it adds another way of looking at the original. The mark of a great transcription is that it makes the listener forget all about the original. So while Beethoven's pupil Czerny's transcription of his master's "Kreutzer" Violin Sonata for cello is a good transcription, enabling the listener to hear the work re-imagined as a virtuoso cello work, the master's transcription of his own Horn Sonata for cello is a great transcription, enabling the listener to hear the work recomposed as a virtuoso cello work. In this recording by cellist Raphael Wallfisch, while both performances are enormously attractive, the differences are immediately apparent. Despite the undoubted excellence and immense force of Wallfisch's playing, Czerny's cello transcription of the Kreutzer is a bit thick in the middle and a little plump on the bottom. But Beethoven's cello transcription of the Horn Sonata is a new work: a muscular but tender work, a rhythmic but sweet work, an enjoyable and entertaining work that completely blots the original from the memory. Pianist John York is a strong and supportive accompanist. The disc's central Duet for Viola and Cello "With Two Obbligato Eyeglasses" between Wallfisch and violist Yuko Inoue is light and delightful. Cello Classics' sound is warm and enveloping.

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