Friday, June 29, 2012

Grieg: Cello Concerto & Songs for Cello and Orchestra

Raphael Wallfisch needs offer no apology for these delightful and effective orchestrations of Grieg's solo works and songs, or for his elegant and thoughtful performances. Even if Joseph Horovitz's orchestration of the well-known Cello Sonata doesn't sound particularly like Grieg's orchestral writing, the advocacy of Wallfisch and beauty of the music make the question irrelevant. At times, Horovitz's wind scoring is reminiscent of another nationalist composer, Dvorák.

Benjamin Wallfisch's scoring of several songs is perhaps more idiomatic, but here he is helped by Grieg who made his own string orchestra arrangements of both Last Spring and The Wounded Heart, better known as the Two Elegiac Melodies. (Hearing the Last Spring reminded me again of how much Delius was inspired by Grieg.) "Solveig's Song" has been arranged for virtually everything—I recall a surprisingly lovely harmonica rendition on an old recording. It's no surprise that it, coupled with "Ingrid's Lament," also from Peer Gynt, sings as beautifully as ever on the cello.

Perhaps the most felicitous arrangements on the disc are Michael Freyans's settings of the nostalgic love song Ich liebe Dich and of the piano solo, Spring.

Handley and the London Philharmonic offer expert and sympathetic support, and the sound is up to Black Box's usual high standard. -- Michael Fine, FANFARE Magazine

MP3 HQ · 138 MB

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