Notes & Reviews:
On previous discs, Christian Poltéra has combined concertos with chamber works by composers such as Frank Martin and Arthur Honegger. The recipe proved highly successful, resulting in more rounded portraits of each composer, as well as of the performer himself: while Poltéra's performance of Martin's Cello Concerto was described in Gramophone as having 'an inspirational intensity to compare with the celebrated Du Pré/Barbirolli recording of the Elgar Concerto', the reviewer in Fanfare praised him for 'playing with the kind of semi-arrogant, swashbuckling carefree attitude that suits Honnegger to a tee'. As he now proceeds to Samuel Barber - some twenty years younger than both Martin and Honegger - Poltéra opens his program with the Cello Concerto, tailored especially for the Georgian-born cellist Raya Garbousova in 1945. The 25-minute long work is one of only three concertos by Barber, and is remarkable for the way in which he balances out the natural lyric expressiveness of his earlier music with a more urgent, acerbic style, highly rhythmic and intense. That lyricism and expressivity is of course most famously heard in the enormously popular Adagio for strings, which closes the disc in a performance by the strings of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Andrew Litton. But before that, Christian Poltéra and his regular chamber-music partner Kathryn Stott gives a performance of the Sonata for Cello and Piano, composed while Barber was still a student, but brilliantly written for the two instruments.
Gramophone Magazine, February 2013
There are three hits here on one CD...[Poltera] is outstanding and invariably well-supported by the Bergen players under Litton. His high positions are effortless, as are the nasty double thirds...Poltera's duet with the oboe in the slow movement is magical...A feature of Litton's Adagio is the way it creeps in fat the start from nothing. Then it's all beautifully paced, spacious and warm. Recorded quality throughout is top-drawer in a truly winning CD.
Sunday Times, 13th January 2013
The Zurich-born cellist champions - with masterly elan - the unjustly neglected concerto by the American composer...With the pianist Kathryn Stott, Poltera gives us the ideal coupling...and Litton's excellent Bergen players round off this outstanding disc with an encore in the form of the Adagio for Strings.
The Guardian, 17th January 2013
As Christian Poltéra's fierce, theatrical performance demonstrates, [the Concerto is] a ruggedly impressive achievement in its own right...And while we don't need another recording of Barber's Adagio for Strings, Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic's is wonderfully refined.
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