The high technical and artistic standards cellist Peter Bruns has set in other recordings are evident throughout this release. For example, in the "Arpeggione" sonata's outer movements he suavely negotiates the tricky string-crossing passages, sustained lyrical lines, and sudden shifts in dynamics. His adroit bow arm appears to have grown vocal cords in the slow movement, as well as in Schumann's Adagio and Allegro. I especially like Bruns' emphatic accentuation and gruff demeanor in the same composer's Five Pieces in Folk Style.
Schumann doesn't so much arrange Bach's C major suite for cello and piano as he merely adds a modest chord-based accompaniment to the original, superfluously filling out what Bach impliesRead more and imposing metric signposts that hamper the cellist's phrasing options. The overall effect can best be described as a Bach cello suite with training wheels. Still, the performers give this curiosity their best shot.
They also bring attractive understatement and refinement to the Schumann Fantasy Pieces, without quite matching the cresting flow and individuality we hear from Natalia Gutman and Martha Argerich in their live EMI recording. And for tone quality alone, Bruns' nasal, glass-harmonica timbre yields to Rostropovich's wider gamut of colors, expressions, and vibratos in both the Folk Pieces and the Schubert sonata, where Benjamin Britten's enlivening, interactive brilliance at the piano overshadows Roglit Ishay's less personalized though solidly professional accompaniments. In all, this is a fine, beautifully engineered disc--but you should hear the aforementioned alternative versions first.
--Jed Distler Read less