Parnassus Records has released an album featuring some of the earliest recordings by cellist János Starker. The present release contains Zoltán Kodály’s Sonata for solo cello, Op. 8, which won the highly coveted Grand Prix du Disque in 1949 and brought Starker to international attention.
Zoltán Kodály Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8
Paul Hindemith Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 11 No. 3
Alexander Tcherepnin Ode for Cello and Piano
Manuel de Falla Suite populaire espagnole
Federico Moreno Torroba Fandanguillo
Zoltán Kodály’s Sonata for Solo Cello and Paul Hindemith’s Sonata for Cello and Piano are both musically interesting works that provide the master cellist with technical hurdles which he surmounts with no difficulty, while Alexander Tcherepnin’ s Ode for Cello and Piano – appealing in its brevity – provides the listener with more melodic riches than either the Kodály or the Hindemith do.
It is only when it comes to Manuel de Falla’s Suite populaire espagnole that Starker offers as much listening pleasure as the enjoyment he seems to be having as he plays with gusto the brief musical tour of Spain, highlighting the embellishments of El paño moruno, the Jota, and the Polo, and the spinning of a tenderly cantabile sound for the Nana.
The album comes to a lighthearted closing with the Fandanguillo of Federico Moreno Torroba (whose name is badly misspelled in the Parnassus liner notes.)
This listener hopes to welcome a re-release by Parnassus Records of János Starker playing Haydn’s and Boccherini’s cello concertos.
Rafael de Acha © 2023
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