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Roy Westbrook
MusicWeb International, December 2017

The disc opens with a piece for cello and piano called “Pathétique”, and does indeed deploy some very Beethovenian gestures, not least the three shorts and a long rhythm we associate with the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The short tense portentous motifs yield to more ethereal and plaintive music, exquisitely played. The virtuoso cello part is impressively despatched, brilliantly secure in the searing writing in the high register. It makes a fine opening, and should be heard by anyone, players especially, involved with the cello music of this century.

The “Allegro frenetico con reminiscenza” is an extension of a solo cello passage derived from a song cycle, as the composer explains in his note. It is dramatic and arresting, and sounds very taxing to play. Perhaps at more than thirteen minutes there is not quite enough variety to sustain interest throughout, but it’s hard to imagine it played with more skill and commitment.

This is another excellently recorded Naxos disc bringing very fine music to the wider attention it deserves. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Bradley Lehman
American Record Guide, January 2016

Berger avoids extreme pointillist fragmentation but often still sounds pretty modern, combining static harmonies, rhapsodic forms, extreme dynamics and ranges, and a tendency to spin out extended episodes of keening lamentation. His characteristic emotional states are late-late-romantic fervency veering into expressionist angst, dramatic intensity, and spectral exhaustion. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Joseph Newsome
Voix des Arts, September 2015

Dugovič, Slávik, and Fanzowitz play with fluidity, cooperation, and tenacity that constitute an homage to Berger himself. The performances on this disc disclose to the listener that this composer’s music merits exploration by the finest artists—and, it is to be hoped, further recordings of this quality. © 2015 Voix des Arts Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2015

Roman Berger has variously been described as a Polish or a Czech composer who readily embraced the cutting-edge avant-garde school of composition in the 1950’s. Born in 1930 on the Czech-Polish border, he was brought up and studied in both countries, but fell foul of the Socialist doctrines in his early career as a composer. The present disc covers two very different eras, the Third Piano Sonata coming from 1971 at a time when Bartók had become a motivating inspiration, though we also hear the Second Viennese School as the instigator of his overt atonality. In four movements, of which the highly charged final allegro inquieto is more extended than the previous three added together, the agitated second and third movements present the soloist with many exacting technical challenges. It is here played by Ladislav Fanzowitz who studied the work with the composer, so that we must take this as a benchmark. The remaining works date from the 21st century, and are played by members of The Berger Trio, the trio consisting of clarinet, cello and piano. Pathetique, for cello and piano, takes its name from Beethoven’s Piano Sonata by that name, but here breaks free of the metronomic pace of that composition and evolves outwards from that point. By now Berger has returned to a modern tonality with lyric passages, which are a feature of Allegro frenetico con reminiscenza, an impassioned work for solo cello also written in 2006. Impromptu, a most attractive piece for solo clarinet, brings in the third member of the trio who then combine in the troubled Epilogue, composed in the wake of the death of Berger’s wife. We much welcome Berger’s ‘Indian Summer’, in this generously filled disc. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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