Valentin Radutiu

Schumann, Franck, Ruzicka, Saint-Saëns: Cello Works

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Valentin Radutiu and Per Rundberg come together for this program of four very different cello pieces that are played with good musical taste and technique. Schumann's Fünf Stücke shows off Radutiu's crisp articulation, clear attention to the rhythm, and his solid bow technique. He sounds very confident as a cellist, playing sweetly (though not with a lot of vibrato) in the third piece and majestically in the fourth piece, with smooth string crossings. Rundberg's piano is deferential, respectful of the cellist and making sure not to overpower the soloist. The sonata by Franck shows a completely different side of a Radutiu, which is delicate and even a bit tentative at first, and then more fluid with his bow strokes, which are played very much into the string. Classical music aficionados will certainly recognize many parts of the sonata, which sounds very rich and lush even though it is just for two instruments. The piano is passionate and bubbling in the second movement, and the accelerando with the cello into the Allegro is indeed exciting. It is certainly clear by the end of the work that both musicians are giving 100%, with the pianist playing boldly and the cellist drawing out the music like honey from the strings. The Saint-Saëns is also a very familiar work to many listeners, and here, it is played with great spirit by both musicians. It seduces the listener, which is a sign of a good artist. The biggest departure on the album in terms of repertoire is the world-premiere recording of Peter Ruzicka's Recitativo for cello and piano, which is an early 21st century piece. Here, it is a conversation in cacophony, atonal and a rather fun way of breaking up the programming on the album. If one is looking for a nice evening of intimate classical music to listen to, this CD is a very good choice. Radutiu will be an exciting artist to watch as he grows.

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