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Scott Cantrell
The Dallas Morning News, August 2010

Maria Kliegel and Nina Tichman capture Fauré’s playful spirit as well as his elegance and controlled emotion, in performances that would be hard to better.

Paul Turok
Turok’s Choice, June 2009

Maria Kliegel, with pianist Nina Tichman gives rather incoherent performances of Fauré’s Cello Sonatas

Adrian Corleonis
Fanfare, November 2008

Kliegel is a consummate professional with glowing credentials… She works her way through Fauré with an unfailingly agreeable croon, rising competently to the considerable technical challenge of the First Sonata… © 2008 Fanfare Read complete review

Edwards Greenfield
Gramophone, November 2008

A Fauré set beautifully delivered by this top-flight cellist

Maria Kliegel, winner of the first Rostropovich Cello competition in Paris in 1981, has made some formidable recordings for Naxos, not least of the Elgar Concerto [8.554409]. Here she follows a collection of Saint-Saëns cello music [8.557880] with a comparable collection of Fauré’s cello music, centring on the two cello sonatas, both late works. To these she adds a varied collection of pieces not originally written for cello, such as the song Après une rêve.

The sonatas are nicely contrasted but Kliegel’s performances with her regular accompanist nina Tichman (her partner in the Xyrion Trio) cannot help bringing out the fact that though both works are satisfyingly compact, the musical material of No 2 is far more compelling, where the lyricism in no 1 rarely adds up to a recognisable tune. No 2 brings a crisply compact slow movement, a warmly lyrical slow movement building up to a powerful climax and a dashing finale with a spiky second subject. In both sonatas and in the shorter pieces Kliegel plays with an impressively wide dynamic range down to a mere whisper of pianissimo, perfectly articulated.

The Elégie, Fauré’s most famous cello piece, comes in a moving performance, and the fluttering Papillon, written some years later, is a brilliant companion piece. The most famous of the other pieces on the disc is the haunting Sicilienne. The Berceuse, originally for violin, has been transcribed for a number of other instruments and Après une rêve comes in a clever cello transcription. Kliegel is in top form throughout; long may her recordings for Naxos continue.

D Moore
American Record Guide, September 2008

…played with good balances and a blend of drama and poetry by the redoubtable Kliegel and Tichman. These two players work together well and have a fine attitude towards this music. The Elegy is slow and intense and works beautifully that way. The sonatas are played dramatically, with a lot of contrast and attention to the subtle harmonic changes.

Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, August 2008

The Cello sonatas lag behind their string cousins for violin in the Fauré discography and also on the recital platform. It’s the earlier Violin Sonata that holds the palm but the Cello Sonatas’ relative effacement is in no way commensurate with their status or their lyric memorability. Good performances on disc are not so commonplace that we should spurn a fine newcomer…Into the bargain price bracket comes this Naxos entrant—low of price but measuring very well in terms of executant perception and technical dexterity as one would expect by now of the Kliegel-Tichman team. I like Kliegel’s approach to the First Sonata…Sometimes ones feels her expressive gestures just a shade forced however, just a little gestural…In the Second Sonata we find Kliegel keen to stress the active, passionate extroversion of the writing; keen, really, to avoid the suspicion of over-lingering romanticism. In the search her tone in this work can tend to be a touch unvaried. The movement that suffers the most is the over-loud, over-declamatory playing in the Andante. And it’s here that the limits of this performance can be felt—where that famously elusive late-Fauré idiom evades the new pairing.

The selection of smaller pieces is engagingly played however. There’s noble reserve in the Elégie and playful rubato in the Sicilienne. Après un reve is refined, a word one can use to describe the recital as a whole. It’s a good one though not a comprehensively good one.

Jeff Simon
The Buffalo News, July 2008

Gorgeous, simply gorgeous. The music of Gabriel Faure is such a rarified combination of classical refinement and lyric rhapsody that musicians usually realize they’re well-advised to avoid it completely unless they’re perfectly attuned to it (You don’t just play Faure casually, in other words, just to discharge some perceived duty to French repertoire.) Here is a young cellist who studied with Janos Starker and was mentored in Washington, D. C. by Rostropovich. She and young pianist Nina Tichmann are brilliant here in the cello-piano music of Faure which may be some of the greatest music in the entire classical cello repertoire. You may have a lot of trouble getting this disc out of your CD player. It’s that kind of musical performance.

James Leonard, June 2008

But while her rich tone, strong technique, and nuanced interpretations are also manifest in this disc coupling Fauré’s two cello sonatas along with seven of the composer’s shorter works for cello and piano, her performances here cannot quite match her Beethoven and Brahms, much less her Schnittke. Kliegel’s intonation is as accurate and her technique as flawless as ever…the elusive but powerful emotions of Fauré’s slow movements are too straightforward in Kliegel’s interpretations…well played and well recorded…

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2008

Born in 1845, Gabriel Faure’s aptitude towards music delighted his father, and was sent to study at the Ecole Neidermeyer in Paris where he found Saint-Saens as his piano teacher.His education completed he rather foolishly accepted the post as organist of a church in provincial France at the age of 21, and as a result suffered an isolation from the music scene in Paris. That was further compounded by marriage and two children that Faure could only support by a mundane life in teaching. His desired career as a composer was now largely restricted to holidays, but more by chance than good planning, his life turned round when a series of odd events ended up with Faure as the much unexpected Director of the Paris Conservatoire. It was to be this unassuming and mild character that brought about such sweeping changes at the Conservatoire that they shaped French musical education to the present day. With more time available he was able to fulfill his desire to be a major composer, though that burning wish to write large-scale works, following his first acquaintance with the music of Wagner, was never realised. The present disc covers his complete music for cello and piano, and, in addition to the two well-known sonatas, includes the popular Elegie and the virtuoso Papillon. A version of the song, Apres un reve and the soothing Serenade close the disc. The excellent pianist, Nina Tichman, points to Faure’s training as a pianist by taking the keyboard to an equal partnership in that potent partnership with Naxos’s long standing cellist, Maria Kliegel. They concentrate throughout on the lyric qualities of the music with long and elegant flowing lines, leaving the injected impact to others. Kliegel’s Stradivari cello sings eloquently in the smooth recorded sound.

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