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Joe Milicia
Enjoy the Music, September 2012

Sound Quality:

Wendy Warner…is the more than capable interpreter of these rarities.

…Variation 1 (Moderato espressivo), for Pablo Casals, is strikingly soulful…Fritz Kreisler is given a gypsy-flavored slow variation, while the Con Passione one for Mischa Elman is indeed passionate, and Variation 10, for the composer himself, offers a rapid, unending flow of triplets.

Wendy Warner is alternately soulful and dazzling—it is a brilliant reading, with vigorous and sensitive accompaniment by Eileen Buck…Piatigorsky’s display piece is consistently a pleasure to hear.

The Variations alone may be a reason for acquiring Warner’s CD, but she also offers us a generous amount of music by Popper to precede the Piatigorsky. The set opens with a nearly half-hour Suite for Cello and Piano in four movements. Its surging, tuneful first movement, marked Allegro giojoso, is a good harbinger of music to follow.

A much earlier suite, the Op. 11 Three Pieces, recalls Robert Schumann…with its opening Widmung (Dedication), a simple and soulful song without words. The Humoresque that follows is appropriately quirky and playful, while the Mazurka that concludes the set manages to be both stately and swaying in its dance rhythm.

The final Popper suite is ImWalde (In the Woods), a 6-movement work originally written for cello and orchestra. The opening Entrance…portrays the stroller into the woods as noble and exhilarated, truly thrilled at one point. Soon he comes upon a Gnomes’ Dance, naturally a grotesque piece, rumbling and somewhat wild. It’s followed by Devotion, a rapt slow movement…It’s a lovely movement in any case.

In all these works Warner plays with great beauty of tone, vigor, and rhythmic sensitivity, matched perfectly by Buck’s sharp-etched accompaniments. Cedille provides excellent sound and ideal balance between cello and piano. © 2012 Enjoy the Music Read complete review

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