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Miklós Perényi began the cello at the age of five, continuing his studies with Ede Banda and Enrico Mainardi at the Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest. He had always been a great admirer of Casals and was able to study with him for a year in the 1960s. Perényi’s own activities as a teacher, based at the Liszt Academy, have not interrupted his highly successful performing career. Since 1974 he has appeared at numerous festivals including those in Edinburgh, Lucerne, Prague, Salzburg, Vienna and Berlin, as well as specific cello festivals such as those at Kronberg, Winterthur and the Royal Northern College of Music in the UK. He also appears regularly at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris.

Many of Perényi’s recordings have been made on the Hungarian label Hungaroton, although he has also recorded for Quint and Decca, amongst others. His performances on record reveal a thoughtful artistic personality in the established modern mould. His basic tone might be characterised as mainstream, with clear articulations and tone (especially on the A-string) and a noteworthy focus upon the musical material. Arguably, some of his lower-register playing is sometimes weak and gruff, as demonstrated by portions of the first movement of the Beethoven Op. 69 Sonata here (1979), but there is a refined approach in his playing otherwise that defines his musicianship. The same might be said of his Brahms Op. 99 Sonata from 1980, although it is interesting to note that he takes a much less classical approach here, complementing the inherent earthiness of the music with a commensurately more impassioned tone. Although the finale seems a little ponderous (not unusually, for a performer of his generation), there is always a sense of significance to the sound.

In unaccompanied repertoire Perényi is eloquent and self-assured. This includes a well-paced and clean-lined Bach Suite No. 3 (2006, DVD release) and, in contrast, a fine interpretation of the Ligeti Solo Cello Sonata (2000), which has an exemplary command of gesture and rhetoric. From established orchestral repertoire there is an animated and lively 1989 rendition of the Dvořák Concerto, whilst from a 1985 album of cello encores Paganini’s Moto perpetuo (a showpiece favoured by Heifetz in particular) is taken at a relatively modest pace, but otherwise played cleanly and confidently in Perényi’s own arrangement.

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Milsom (A–Z of String Players, Naxos 8.558081-84)

Role: Classical Artist 
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