Romantic Duos: Original works for cello & organ

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Ah yes, cello and organ duos -- an instrumentation that many have tried to record and few have achieved. The synthesis of these two instruments poses many challenges, particularly on recorded media. The first is the issue of balance. Let's face it: a properly equipped church organ can drown out an army, so a lone cello has got its work cut out for it to be heard unless extraordinary measures are taken. There's also the issue of intonation; playing with an organ is nothing like playing with a piano, so again, unless extraordinary measures are taken, this is going to be a significant problem. Unfortunately, no such measures seem to have been taken for this album. Anything above a mezzo piano from the organ and the cello vanishes from notice. Cellist Tibor Bogányi and organist Àgnes Zászkaliczky attempt to overcome this obstacle by playing quite timidly throughout, yielding a very unmoving, bland interpretation across the board. Intonation is also far from perfect; half steps in particular are much closer together on the cello than the organ could ever hope to achieve. For the more chromatic works on the program, this spells disaster. Despite their best intentions, this album simply does not achieve a sufficient performance level to warrant its purchase.

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