ARTEK Recordings

Reviews of CD 10

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Claremont Duo

Fanfare Magazine ... Robert McColley:

This is a highly satisfying recital by the Claremont Duo, as the two performers have styled themselves.  The American cellist Maxine Neuman plays with beautiful tone and sensitive phrasing while the German guitarist Peter Ernst compliments her with scintillating performances on his classical guitar.  Furthermore, the program is an ingenious combination of mostly rare music that is nonetheless in familiar and mostly engaging styles.

The works...offer two works from the 18th century, and four from the 20th.  Three of the modern works are highly accessible.  Radames Gnattali (1906-1987) and Jaime Zenamon (b. 1953) represent Brazil and demonstrate distinct personal styles, while also reminding one of Heitor Villa-Lobos in their convincing blend of traditional European melodies and harmonies with excitingly complex Brazilian rhythms-- and, one should add, a penchant for writing beautiful music for cello.  Jacques Ibert's selections, piano pieces adroitly arranged, are delectable morsels, as always.  The now familiar Antonio Vivaldi and the still obscure Johann Paul Schiffelholtz (ca. 1680-1757) offer Baroque-Classical elegance, leaving only Carlo Domeniconi (b. 1947) to challenge our ears with music that is not always firmly rooted in a familiar key.  It is, however, sufficiently lean and spare that the ear, while unsure what is going to happen next, will have no difficulty in following it.

Interestingly, the pieces by Gnattali, Domeniconi, and Zenamon were written precisely and quite effectively for cello and guitar.  Vivaldi's sonata, on the other hand, was originally for cello and keyboard, with the latter distinctly in a subordinate role.  Schiffelholtz, on the other hand, wrote his Duet for cello and a Persian plucked instrument called the colascione, and mostly gave it the leading voices while weaving an elegant obligatto with the cello.

Interesting, even fascinating repertoire, plus excellent performances, plus ideal sonic reproduction, and an interesting, eye-friendly booklet: Artek has winner here. CLASSICAL NEWSLETTER ... Alan Campbell

An enchanting, astonishing and unusual combination: the rich warmth of the cello and the delicate timbre of the guitar are perfectly attuned to each other in the hands of Maxine Neuman and Peter Ernst. This recording demonstrates beyond a doubt what surprising, exquisite rapport these seemingly incompatible instruments can achieve.

The order chosen for these recorded works was not guided by chronological or stylistic principles, but rather by the theatrical perspective of showcasing the range and beauty of this superlative partnership.

The selections include compositions originally written for this instrumentation (by Zenamon, Domeniconi and Gnattali), pieces written for instruments similar to the present combination (Schiffelholtz) or which - since not specified by the composer - one can imagine being realized by this combination (Vivaldi); the program is finally complemented by a transcription of a work originally composed for piano (Ibert).
Radames Gnattali belongs to the third generation of the Brazilian school. The guitar occupies a prominent position in his extensive Œuvre. In addition to solo compositions and six concerti with orchestra, Gnattali produced numerous pieces for chamber ensembles.

Peter Ernst (guitar) and Maxine Neuman (cello) make up together the Claremont Duo, an inspired and unusual cobination that blends the rich warmth of the cello with the delicate timbre of the classical guitar. On this enchanting recording the unusual repertoire features works by Radames Gnattali (Sonata), Antonio Vivaldi (Sonata No. 5), Jacques Ibert (excerpts from Histoires), (Funf Stucke), Johann Paul Schifferlholtz (Duetto III) and Jaime Zenamon (Reflexoes No. 6). The performers are perfectly attuned to each other, their instruments achieve a surprising, exquisite rapport.

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