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Guy Rickards
Gramophone, October 2012

Enescu’s two cello sonatas, despite their common opus number, were composed 37 years apart. The youthful, Brahmsian First (1898) was written at white-hot speed apparently in just 12 days…its musical flow effortless for all the rigour of the opening Allegro molto moderato. The succeeding Allegretto scherzando is a delightful interlude, nicely paced between the opening span and the beautiful Molto andante. The Presto finale recapitulates the opposition of vigorous masculine and lilting feminine subjects in a vibrant discourse that was no small achievement for a composer still only 17 years old.

The Second Sonata…packs a greater expressive punch than its predecessor, at every turn demonstrating the mastery Enescu had attained in the intervening period. The instrumental writing is that of a virtuoso on both a string instrument…and piano.

…Laura Buruiana…turns in sparkling performances of both works. Her tone is well-nigh perfect, delicate and refined, with intonation spot on. Accompanist Martin Tchiba…proves a splendid partner…A highly recommendable disc. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Robert R. Reilly
Catholic News Agency, June 2012

… a wonderful Naxos recording…of an Enescu’s Cello Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2. In the second Sonata, the cello usually carries the melody—long lines of it, sprinkled with glittering, shattered shards of crystal from the piano. This music is performed with panache by cellist Laura Buruiana and pianist Martin Tchiba. © 2012 Catholic News Agency Read complete review

Paul Turok
Turok’s Choice, June 2009

Enescu’s two sonatas, well played by cellist Laura Buruiana and Martin Tchiba, turn out to be rather lackluster pieces except for the folklike finale of the Second .

D Moore
American Record Guide, November 2008

This new Naxos is the fourth release I have heard that includes both of the sonatas…I should mention that there is a lot of stylistic difference between the relatively Brahmsian Sonata 1 and the more modern Sonata 2: despite the fact that they share opus number 26, 1 is from 1898 while 2 is from 1936! The unease of the 30s is clearly overshadowing the music by this time, lovely and romantic though it still is.…Buruiana and Tchiba are in their 20s, and their performances are on the grand side. Their recording shows more dynamic range than anyone else’s. This is first evident in the way the dramatic opening of Sonata 1 gives way to a most mysterious handling of the following passage, where the cello plays eighth-notes under what in most readings sounds like a chorale in the piano… here Buruiana sinks almost into silence while Tchiba plays with much variety of articulation, joining her in mystery rather than singing out religiously. This unity of intent marks their readings, making the music sound more intense than in the other recordings. The second movement of Sonata 1 has a fugal texture, yet the emphasis on mystery and delicacy keeps it from sounding purely technical…this is an unusually effective set of performances.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2008

Born in Rumania in 1881, George Enescu was one of the most gifted musicians of his generation, equally successful as a virtuoso violinist, pianist, conductor, composer and teacher. Yet many thought that he squandered much of his life at the expense of adding to his rather meagre output as a distinguished composer, only a handful of works being written in the last thirty years of his life. In this genre he had come to international attention in his younger years with the two Romanian Rhapsodies, and was to add major symphonic works through the next decades, though it was in the field of chamber music that he was most active. The two cello sonatas were composed at both ends of his career, the first from the nineteen-year-old student, with almost four decades separating it from the second. If the first held some allegiance, almost in equal measure, to Brahms and Saint-Saens, it is a work of immediate attraction, the opening cello melody in the slow movement being one of the most beautiful ever composed for the instrument. The second was dedicated to his friend and duo partner, Pablo Casals, and one feels Enescu’s need to bring his style of composition into the 20th century, the results less than convincing. It was only with the publication of this second sonata that the world became aware of his first sonata. Both are in four movements, the second more rhapsodic - meandering may be an equally appropriate description - the piano given a prominent role in both scores. The young Romanian cellist, Laura Buruiana, has already many competition successes to her name, and is technically well equipped. I am not quite sure why she uses such a wide and pronounced vibrato on the second sonata, which rather accentuates the discursive nature of the score, but there is obviously affection in her playing of both pieces. In Martin Tchiba she has an excellent partner, his temperament well suited to both scores, while balance between the duo is admirable. I don’t find another currently available recording of this coupling, and I urge all cellists to get to know the first sonata. Recorded quality is admirable.

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