Han-Na Chang / Antonio Pappano


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It remains a mystery why EMI consistently omits any mention from its program notes of the many gifted artists recording for the label. It's also a bit of a mystery why a cellist with as vast a technique as Han-Na Chang, whose previous discography focuses on the behemoth works of the repertoire like Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 and Prokofiev Sinfonia Concertante, would take on a "Romance" album featuring mainly over-sappy works often conquered by gifted high school players. The only truly "meaty" piece on the program is the Lalo concerto -- a work that is often not given its due credit in the literature. Much like her aforementioned recordings, Chang demonstrates again that she has more than ample technique and virtuosity to conquer anything in the repertoire. Where she falls short is the depth and intricacy of her interpretations and fails to reach the heights of the legendary performers whose footsteps she follows in. In this case, Chang's Lalo is technically flawless, but doesn't come close to the level of Spanish flare, panache, and rhythmic vitality of great performances of the work by Zara Nelsova and Leonard Rose. Conductor Antonio Pappano, who typically accompanies Chang at the helm of the London Symphony Orchestra, is heard here leading the much more sluggish and dull-sounding Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. The boomy accompaniment only serves to further dull Chang's straightforward, bare-bones execution of Lalo.

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