MOÓR Cello Sonatas: in G; in c. Suite for 4 Cellos • Gregor Horsch (vc); Carole Presland (pn); Amsterdam Cello Qrt • CELLO CLASSICS 1018 (67:32)
Emanuel Moór was born in Hungary in 1865 and died in 1931. As well as being a composer (of 123 published works, advises the booklet note, most of them written before 1914, including five operas, eight symphonies, and more than a dozen concertos), Moór was an inventor and “improver” of musical instruments. Pablo Casals thought Moór a “genius”Read more and late in his life questioned why Moór was so neglected.
One reason, for all that Moór’s music (as recorded here) is engaging and immaculately composed, is that it lacks ultimate distinction. That it is close to Brahms (and somewhat to Schumann, and occasionally César Franck) is one thing; that it sounds a little too much like Brahms (in particular) is another; that said, one senses Moór’s complete integrity and that he was writing in an idiom that suited him ideally. The two cello sonatas are sonorous and serious works. The first, in four movements, includes much eloquence and ambition; it’s a fine piece. So too is the C-Minor Sonata, which flows with dark undercurrents and consolatory themes to an impassioned finale. There’s no doubting either that Moór writes for cello and piano with mastery and confidence, and with a beauty of communication that is impressive. I’m very taken by Gregor Horsch’s playing; he is principal cellist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and brings a lovely tone, sparkling technique, and real musical values to his committed interpretations; and he is well supported by Carole Presland. Good recorded sound, too, which more or less gives equality to the two instruments.
The Suite for Four Cellos (1909) is the latest music here and shows greater individuality; how well Moór distinguishes the four entrustments and how freely the music seems composed without becoming indulgent or overly rhapsodic. This is the most interesting of these three Moór pieces, and all are well worth getting to know. The booklet includes plenty of information about Moór and his music.
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