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Duncan Druce
Gramophone, June 2001

"Maria Kliegel views the Concerto as a strong, dramatic work, and she has just the qualities - impressive, powerful tone and brilliant technique - to bring it off. The early exchanges with the orchestra establish her heroic presence, which she then relaxes to give a soft, delicate account of the second theme, lending to this expansive movement an unusually wide range of expression...

The second movement is taken quite slowly, its melancholy mood made more intense than usual, with the sound of the charming major-key scherzo sections again slightly spoilt by over- resonant bass. The finale is excellent; a robust, serious approach allied to energetic, bouncy rhythms. Throughout, the orchestra sounds warmly romantic, the important solo wind parts full of character.

The Sonata, too, is well worth hearing. Written 20 years before the Concerto, it's still a fully mature work, mixing grand Lisztian gestures with classical formal outlines and ingenious, colourful harmony. Kliegel and Glemser play with fine style and intense commitment, encompassing the high romanticism and, in the outer movement, Lalo's characteristically forceful rhythmic manner. Chants russes is an arrangement of the middle movement of tl1e Concerto russe for violin - it's very effective as a cello piece. Kliegel's soft, refined sound near the end is especially memorable."

Lawrence Hansen
American Record Guide, December 2000

"Miss Kligel copes with the turgid first movement about as well as any cellist I've seen heard tackle it... Kliegel and Halasz generate a lot of sound and fury and charge through the desiccated, sometimes disjointed bits with a great deal of purpose and drive. II is a combination slow movement and scherzo, considerably more ingratiating than I, and here Kliegel's playing is alternately flowing and lyrical, crisp and playful. She approaches III as a showy, blazing, bravura romp-which indeed it is."

Geoffrey Norris
The Daily Telegraph (Australia), August 2000

"Although seldom heard in concerts these days, Lalo's Concerto is one of the great works of the cello repertoire. Its neglect is all the more incomprehensible when you listen to such a towering performance as the one given here by Maria Kliegel with the Hungarian-based Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia.

As her impressive and wide-ranging Naxos discography shows, Kliegel is a versatile artist; and her rich tone, subtle shadings of colour and passionate involvement with the music are applied to Lalo's virtuoso writing with both vigour and sensitivity.

"Lalo was a cellist, and knew how to get the best out of the instrument. The Romantic drive of the outer movements, together with the poetic lyricism of the Intermezzo, explore both the athletic and contemplative characteristics of the cello, which Kliegel invests with spirit and ardour.

"The performance of the Cello Concerto is so gripping that it would be worth having on its own. But the equally impassioned Cello Sonata and the heartfelt Chants russes are a glorious bonus.

Jed Distler, July 2000

"Edouard Lalo's early training as a cellist reveals itself throughout his two principal works for the instrument. The Sonata is all but unplayed and rarely recorded, while the D minor concerto has long earned its rightful place in the repertoire. In the concerto, the solo instrument's registral extremes are gainfully exploited in the outer movements, with sweeping rhetorical passages set off by gutsy orchestral punctuations. ...

"Cellist Maria Kliegel brings selfless flair and expressive economy to [the Concerto and] throws herself into [the Sonata's] three impassioned movements and revels in the music's volatile moods while tossing off Lalo's high-register hurdles without a trace of strain. Lalo transcribed the lovely Chants russes from the second movement of his Concerto Russe for violin, which makes an eloquent encore. Bernd Glemser's exemplary keyboard work transcends mere accompaniment. It's good to have Lalo's cello music all together on one disc, and who can resist Naxos' budget price?"

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