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Soirees Internationales / Meneses, Szrvinsky

Release Date: 11/25/2008 
Label:  Avie   Catalog #: 2162   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Heitor Villa-LobosCamargo Mozart GuarnieriNadia BoulangerBohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Celina SzrvinskyAntonio Meneses
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Readings of tonal breadth and warmth make this an attractive Parisian journey.

The theme is Paris. The actors on the musical stage are Villa-Lobos and Martin? who both arrived in the city in 1923, Mozart Camargo Guarnieri who arrived in 1939 – just as Martin? was leaving – and Nadia Boulanger, the sole resident. The sub-theme is music either for - or arranged for - cello and piano. The intermediaries, the intercessionary characters, are cellist Antonio Menses and pianist Celina Szrvinsk.

The scene is set for Villa-Lobos to start. An evocative arrangement by William Primrose for viola is taken over for cello and the Aria from Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 launches the production. It has expressive warmth and
Read more has a powerfully, indeed fierily projected B section with attendant cellistic sniffing. There are three arrangements from Bachianas Brasileiras No.2. I liked the legato strength of O Canto do capadócio, as well as the vampy piano section in the middle, so confidently projected by Szrvinsk. Then too there’s the slinky B section of O Canto da Nossa Terra to beguile the senses and so does – in a different way - the ardent cello song over the piano’s railroad clatter in O Trenzinho do Capira – the skittering, shuddering screeching breaking is certainly satisfactory and not an ounce of shyness here.

Guarnieri’s Cello Sonata was written in 1931, just a year after Villa-Lobos completed Bachianas Brasileiras No.2. It’s rhapsodic possessing the warming hues of late impressionism as well as a strong Latin American rhythmic profile. There’s a brief songful central movement and a dashing, volatile dynamic finale - extrovert, exciting and demanding focused concentration. Guarnieri avoids facile flirtations with jazz but not with forceful pesante dynamism.

Martin?’s Third Sonata was written post-War in 1952. Once again it receives a reading of valuable tonal breadth and warmth. The ‘Julietta’ theme in the first movement is avidly explored and though there are times when the rubati are stretched things just about keep on track. It’s an extrovert reading without doubt, something reinforced by the very fast Andante. I recently reviewed a recital of all three cello sonatas on Claves and noted the speed of that performance but this one is 5:50 and super-fast. The trick is to relax the tempo here to let the music project more effectively, something the classic Chuchro-Hála team [Supraphon, currently unavailable] did so conspicuously well on their old recording. Fine though the playing is here there’s just a sense of one-dimensionality that limits ultimate pleasure.

No such concerns about the Nadia Boulanger pieces. Most know that she did compose a little, even though Lili is the composing genius of the family. Nadia Boulanger’s three pieces are in order gently reflective, songful and slight, and finally rhythmically eager and vital.

With attractive production values – excellent recording quality and booklet notes – this Parisian journey can be warmly welcomed.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Bachianas brasileiras no 5 for Soprano and 8 Cellos: Aria "Cantilena" by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Performer:  Celina Szrvinsky (Piano), Antonio Meneses (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938-1945; Brazil 
Bachianas brasileiras no 2 for Cello and Piano, W 568 by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Performer:  Celina Szrvinsky (Piano), Antonio Meneses (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; Brazil 
Sonata for Cello and Piano no 1 by Camargo Mozart Guarnieri
Performer:  Celina Szrvinsky (Piano), Antonio Meneses (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Pieces (3) for Cello and Piano by Nadia Boulanger
Performer:  Celina Szrvinsky (Piano), Antonio Meneses (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; France 
Sonata for Cello and Piano no 3 by Bohuslav Martinu
Performer:  Celina Szrvinsky (Piano), Antonio Meneses (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; USA 
O canto do cisne negro, W 122 by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Performer:  Celina Szrvinsky (Piano), Antonio Meneses (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; Brazil 

Featured Sound Samples

Bachiana brasileira no 5 (Villa-Lobos): I. Aria "Cantilena"
Pieces for Cello and Piano (Boulanger): No 1: Modéré

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