CD Reviews | CTD (Briefly Noted) | JFL (Dip Your Ears) | DVD Reviews


Sol Gabetta's Rococo Variations

Available at Amazon:
available at Amazon
Tchaikovsky, Rococo Variations (also Saint-Saëns, Ginastera), Sol Gabetta, Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Ari Rasilainen
(February 6, 2007)
Sol Gabetta's first home was Argentina, but she moved to Europe with her family (Spain and France) for educational reasons in the 1990s. She now lives in German-speaking Switzerland (where she hosts the Solsberg Festival near her home in Olsberg, with the Kammerorchester Basel, in June), so her linguistic palette must be remarkable (including colorful English, as evidenced in this lengthy interview). Her first major recording, on Sony's RCA Red Seal, features Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, which Sol Gabetta will play later this season in concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra (June 26 to 28). The piece is a favorite of performers, last heard from the NSO with another beautiful young cellist, Alisa Weilerstein, at the start of the 2005 season. Tchaikovsky is not particularly one of my favorites, but this sugary piece, which lacks the heft of a powerhouse concerto, is enough to establish Gabetta's virtuoso bona fides (there is an excerpt online).

Far more interesting listening is found in the tracks that follow the Rococo Variations. Not really the three little Tchaikovsky encore bon-bons, which are mostly in the same pretty vein, but the demanding first cello concerto by Saint-Saëns. This piece is heard less often, and Gabetta negotiates its bravura solo part with passion and flair, occasionally losing some of the refined sound of her tone elsewhere. The best eight minutes by far on this disc are the final track, Alberto Ginastera's Pampeana No. 2 (available online as an .MP3 file, in a version with piano), a sultry and exciting piece one hopes she will play as an encore in Washington. The affinity of Gabetta for the music of her countryman comes across in the sound. Hopefully, a future Sol Gabetta disc will be devoted to Ginastera: he composed two concerti and one sonata for the cello, as well as this charming pampeana (named for the region of Argentina to the south of Gabetta's native Córdoba).

RCA Red Seal (Sony BMG) 82876759512


Anonymous said...

Saw Sol Gabetta Saturday night at the KenCen. It's easy to be distracted by her homecoming queen looks, but Hope she doesn't coast on them. It's strking how many of the young female soloists touring today are quite beautiful (Chee Yun, Anne Sophie Mutter, etc.) Hope that looks are not becoming the sole criteria on who gets on the stage.

Unknown said...

bit late to mention ASMutter, one thinks. Distracted by blonde hair as well? Not that much to 'coast' on. Isn't she just a girl with pleasant looks who plays wonderfully?..