Peter Bruns / Jürgen Bruns

Schumann, Volkmann: Cello Concertos

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On the evidence of this disc of works by Robert Schumann and Robert Volkmann, it appears that Peter Bruns has almost everything going for him as a cellist. He's got a rich, dark, yet singing tone; a beautifully modulated but incredibly flexible technique; and an ardent but balanced approach to interpretation. In the two lovely arrangements of Schumann's Abendlied for cello and piano, one by Pablo Casals and the other by Bruns, he delivers warmhearted and technically irreproachable performances. In Volkmann's three pieces for cello and piano, he turns in immensely persuasive readings of what is essentially salon music. In Volkmann's odd but appealing Andante with Variations for three cellos, he and fellow cellists Jakob Stepp and Gregor Nowak find unexpected beauties in the music. When it comes to the two concertos, though, Bruns is undone by his one flaw: his tone, though lovely, is not very big, and he cannot always manage to project over the full orchestra. His performance itself is quite fine, strong, soulful, and sensitive, as is that of the Mendelssohn Kammerorchester Leipzig under the direction of Jürgen Bruns. It's difficult to appreciate Bruns' undeniable artistry when his sound is swamped, making this disc less attractive than it could have been. Hänssler's digital sound is cool, clean, and surprisingly colorful.

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