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La Voce del Violoncello - Solo works of the first Italian Cellist-Composers

Frey , La Rotta , Napper Audio CD

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite releases of the year Aug. 19 2013
By John J. Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
As far as I can see, this 2013 release, La Voce del Violoncello ("The Voice of the Cello"), is only the third album from Canadian cellist Elinor Frey, and it's the first one in which she goes it mostly alone. Although Ms. Frey may not yet be in the class of a Casals or a Rostropovich, she displays a commendable command of the cello and an obvious joy in playing the instrument that foretell a promising future.

Here, in an album of solo works from the first Italian cellist-composers, Ms. Frey has chosen a reasonable middle ground. She has recorded twenty-three tracks representing some of the earliest-known compositions for the violoncello, following the genre over nearly seventy-five years from the mid-seventeenth century to the early eighteenth, by which time the cello had become popular enough to spread throughout Europe and produce star performers of international repute. More important, the music Ms. Frey has chosen is accessible and charming, and she plays it expertly on an unnamed Klingenthatl-style baroque cello from the late-eighteenth century, accompanied on a few numbers by Esteban La Rotta, theorbo and baroque guitar, and Susie Napper, baroque cello.

Ms. Frey begins this musical journey through the early baroque cello with Tromba a Basso solo by Giuseppe Colombi (1635-1694), only it's not a solo since Mr. La Rotta supports her with a bass realization on the theorbo. If you're not sure what a theorbo is, it's a now obsolete bass lute with two sets of strings attached to separate peg boxes, one above the other, on the neck. It produces a sound that complements the cello nicely. It's a delightful work, delightfully performed.

And so it goes, with further pieces by Domenico Galli (1649-1697), Giovanni Battista Vitali (1632-1729), Giuseppe Maria Dall'Abaco (1710-1805), Francesco Paolo Suspriani (1678-1753), and Giulio Ruvo. Given the nature of the music and the early composition dates, you might expect a good deal of repetition or sameness, but Mr. Frey ensures that we take nothing for granted. Her style is continuously flexible and spirited, with an emphasis on creativity, clarity, and precision.

In terms of sound, the cello emerges cleanly defined, clear, and richly resonant, as do the accompanying instruments. The miking is relatively close, so the sound is big, yet there is a pleasant ambient air around the instruments as well, making them resound fully throughout the room. Indeed, it is this warm, resonant bloom that makes the sound so appealing, yet it in no way distracts from the lucidity of the instrumental sound.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A calm but very intense voyage back in Italian provinces of Bach's times July 30 2013
By Jacques Richer - Published on Amazon.com
I didn't know Elinor Frey until I met her in person in February and March 2013, in Montréal. I immediately fell in love with her playing, her attitude, her impressive mastery of the cello, her professionalism, her dynamism, her energy. She looked like she was taking off to conquer the world. This gorgeous CD of old italian cello compositions was then in the making and came out soon after our encounters. I am sure this will be her flying carpet.

A pure gem in my collection. A beautiful CD cover that matches her talent perfectly.

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