Notes and Editorial Reviews
Cello Sonatas: in C; in D; in A. 6 Bagatelles,
Tanya Tomkins (vc); Eric Zivian (fp) (period instruments)
BRIDGE 9305 (77:47)
My touchstones for the sonatas found here have for a long time been the Pierre Fournier recordings with Artur Schnabel. Fournier is the most elegant and eloquent cellist I know of in these works: his every phrase seems beautifully rounded. Schnabel is a sublime Beethoven player. Of course, there are also other recordings one has to admire,
including those by Tortelier and Heidsieck, by Yo-Yo Ma and Emmanuel Ax, by Schiff and Perenyi. Slightly less attractive to my ears are the Rostropovich recordings, and the Jacqueline du Pré seems compromised by Barenboim’s clunky accompaniment. There are recordings of the most thrilling of the pieces, the A Major, by Feuermann with Myra Hess and by Jacqueline du Pré with Stephen Bishop. Also in my collection is a fine recording on Danacord by Erling Bengtsson and Anker Blyme, which was issued on
years ago and which seems since to have disappeared.
Tomkins and Zivian play so-called original instruments from 1811 and 1815. That means, of course, that the fortepiano will not have the power of a modern piano. At times, I feel the piano is under-recorded here, but that may be because of the powerful presence of the cello and of the resonance of the recording space. The players are emphatic and intense, with heavy accents and shifts in dynamics. In that, they are less patrician sounding than many of the musicians listed above. Parts of the first movement of the A Major sound positively fierce. I am not entirely comfortable with the interpretation, but it is different and intriguing, and the musicians are technically skilled and engaged. A distinguishing feature of this disc is the inclusion of the interesting Six Bagatelles, op. 126, which I also know best from Schnabel’s recording. Here, in these sometimes-quirky works, Zivian sounds perfectly at home. And though others have been recorded, these are the only fortepiano versions I know.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman
Works on This Recording
Bagatelles (6) for Piano, Op. 126 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Eric Zivian (Fortepiano)
Written: 1824; Vienna, Austria
Length: 17 Minutes 36 Secs.
Sonata for Cello and Piano no 3 in A major, Op. 69 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Tanya Tomkins (Cello),
Eric Zivian (Fortepiano)
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria
Length: 26 Minutes 18 Secs.
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