Notes and Editorial Reviews
Nearly an hour of solo cello music can be a slog, even if it's Bach, and for all his charm, Alfredo Piatti was no Bach. It's a tribute, then, to Canadian cellist Soo Bae that she manages to sustain the interest (and attractiveness) of this program throughout its entire length--not that you have to take it in all at once. Piatti was one of the major cello virtuosos primarily resident in England in the latter half of the 19th century. He played (on and off) in the Joachim Quartet--so did a lot of others--and according to composer and RAM Principal Alexander Mackenzie he was a cellist of the old school, who used vibrato selectively in melodic passages.
The Capriccio really is a delicious concoction, and even in the double- and
triple-stops of its opening, Soo Bae never succumbs to the "dying cow" syndrome that plagues so many cellists in chordal writing. Her handling of the Andante religioso opening of the Second Caprice is particularly smooth and stylish, and whether she knows (or cares) about Piatti's own predilections, her vibrato is, for the most part, unobtrusively and appropriately displayed. There's a lot of virtuoso fiddling here also in the quicker numbers, but as I said, you don't have to listen to the entire program at a sitting. So: fine playing, a novel program, and excellent sonics (and for what it's worth, the cello is a Strad).
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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