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Karl Lozier
Positive Feedback Online, March 2010

Orr’s arrangement of Bizet’s famous and very popular opera is entitled Carmen Fantasy and very surprisingly, to me at least, opens with a cello cadenza that does link Bizet’s most famous themes. That should sound familiar to every listener. Cassado’s arrangement continues the Spanish theme from Carmen. Danzi’s contribution for this collection is variations on a theme from Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni”. As you by now can tell, this release is based on arrangements for the cello and not music composed for the cello. As a result, not all the selections will be familiar sounding though musically interesting and pleasing. I really do not like to quibble over small details when the enjoyment of classical music is of paramount importance. I think that the title includes the words virtuoso and showpiece are simply misleading promotional terms. While I am in this mode, I shall mention much of the time the arrangements sound like “for cello and piano” and that is fine with me as they are my favorite instruments. I enjoyed this release and still do though it took a number of listening sessions and a touch added on the gain/volume control to get to that conclusion. Then the recorded cello was sounding much like a live cello heard from a fairly close seat in a relatively small theater. As such I can easily recommend this fine release, unlike so many recordings that do not do the cello accurately.

Limelight, November 2007

Both transcriptions and virtuoso originals should make cello lovers very happy!

Tony Way
The Age, August 2007

Both transcriptions and virtuoso originals should make cello lovers very happy!

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2007

I don’t know whether Dvořák would have been amused or furious to find his three cello works included in a disc entitled ‘Virtuoso Cello Showpieces’. It is certainly a curious release where we move from the frothy brilliance of the opera paraphrases to the sublime beauty of Silent Woods. Still its good to have the seldom performed Carmen Fantasy from the Scottish composer, Buxton Orr. Born in 1924 his output was strange as it straddled easy listening film scores and hard-core contemporary pieces. He did take as his model for this listener-friendly piece Waxman’s violin showpiece, Carmen Fantasy, and comes up with a fiendishly difficult cello work that he later provided with an orchestral accompaniment. Maria Kliegel obviously enjoys the challenge as she launches into it with such bravado. Sandwiched between another display of pyrotechnics from the much undervalued, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Franz Danzi piece sounds distinctly stuffy, though it must have amused its early 19th century audience. Much as I enjoy Kliegel’s expedition into the world of showpieces, I welcomed her back home in the safe realms where the beauty of tone becomes paramount, Silent Woods a gorgeous piece of cello playing, while the singing aspects of the Sonatina are creamy smooth. Composed for violin and piano when Dvořák was under the influence of Americana—the ‘New World’ Symphony was being written at the same time, this adaptation for cello by Oscar Hartwieg works well, though the music’s simplicity does sit more happily on the higher instrument. As I have commented before, the Kliegel—Tichman is well matched, the pianist never reticent, though here most of the composers have used the word ‘accompaniment’ as the indication of a subordinate role. Sound quality is satisfying without being special .

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