Notes and Editorial Reviews
5 chansons d’élite
Silvia Chiesa (vc); Maurizio Baglini (pn)
CONCERTO 2035 (64:48)
I once heard Maurizio Pollini in Symphony Hall play first Chopin and then, after an intermission, Debussy. What was most striking was the difference he produced in the sound of the same instrument. If I have a minor complaint about the bold,
often ravishing, performances on this new disc, it is that the sound of the Debussy is too close to the sound of the Chopin. In a word, other recordings, such as the one on Chandos by the Athena Ensemble, sound more like Debussy to me. Perhaps the problem is mine. Why would anyone object to the beauty of Chiesa’s cello, or want a recording that sounded somehow more remote? At any rate, the Chopin here is heated, expressive, and the Debussy more outgoing and powerful than one might expect. I am still a fan of Tortelier’s Chopin recording, and that of Yo-Yo Ma, but these new recordings are deft and accomplished in their dramatic style.
The Corghi is an oddity, a piece with a political agenda. The agenda is in fact obscured by the music. Azio Corghi was evidently hired to produce a piece in honor of the French Revolution. He chose to set, or perhaps deconstruct, five songs that the revolutionaries sang, including “Ah, c’ira” and call them, I am guessing ironically,
Perhaps in a fit of self-criticism, he seems to be making a point about the classicizing of popular songs—in which case, he is also biting the hand that feeds him. He fragments the songs, and parodies them. “La Camagnole” is stated in bits by both instruments, the cello sounding choked, the piano distracted. There does seem to be a pattern established: the cello plays melodically, sometimes boldly, a bit of the melody, which the piano then dances around. They often take turns in a cockamamie conversation. In the notes, Corghi asks what the relevance of the Revolution is to today’s culture. He doesn’t give us a clue in his music, which is nonetheless amusing to listen to.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman
Works on This Recording
Sonata for Cello and Piano by Claude Debussy
Silvia Chiesa (Cello),
Maurizio Baglini (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1915; France
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