No. 7. Lento - Piu espressivo - Con moto - Andante - Tempo I
No. 8. Vivace
18th April 2008
“There's a sameness in Martin's cello writing, which all too frequently consists of juxtaposing long, looping melodies with scampering passages in six-eight time or flurried pizzicato arpeggios. Poltéra, committed and subtle as always, can't quite disguise the resulting thinness. The Malmo Symphony Orchestra under Tuomas Ollila-Hannikainen are his laid-back accompanists in the Concerto, while pianist Kathryn Stott joins him for the Ballade. Left to her own devices, Stott also performs the Eight Preludes for Piano dating from 1944. They rank among Martin's finest works and are, ironically, the best things on the disc.”
“Many music lovers will not have been exposed to much of Frank Martin's music… I was quite bowled over in discovering the Cello Concerto, so eloquently and sensitively played here. It is no exaggeration to state that this rapt performance presents this noble concerto with an inspirational intensity to compare with the celebrated Du Pré/Barbirollo recording of the Elgar Concerto.”
“Poltéra delivers an utterly compelling and committed performance, and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra under Tuomas Ollila-Hannikainen provides both sensitive and dynamic support. Stott… gets a welcome opportunity to demonstrate her own credentials as a soloist, providing an outstanding performance of the Eight Preludes, Martin's most substantial work for piano. All in all, a wonderful disc.”
“Frank Martin's Cello Concerto, so eloquently and sensitively played here, is a real discovery. It is no exaggeration to state that this rapt performance presents this noble concerto with an inspirational intensity to compare with the celebrated Du Pré/Barbirolli recording of the Elgar Concerto. The works share a similar deep, poignant, meditative feeling, although Martin's concerto also has a distinct valedictory character, expressive melancholy which suggests personal loss. The soloist opens with a gloriously lyrical theme which is to dominate the movement (commentators have likened it to Vaughan Williams). A skittish development is in tarantella rhythm with bolder clashes of angry dissonance but at the close comes the balm of the return of the ravishing opening material. Unexpectedly, the touching central Adagietto is in the form of a passacaglia. This sadness is all but dispelled in the brilliantly rhythmic finale, yet the lyricism creeps back and even the tarantella returns briefly before the close. The (much earlier) Ballade is a free fantasialike dialogue between cello and piano, Kathryn Stott and Christian Poltéra enjoying a perfect partnership. Martin dallied with Schoenberg's 12-note system and he uses it in the Eight Preludes. But he had no intention of giving up tonality, and the result is a stunning set of great variety and resource, thrillingly played by Stott. This disc, given state-of-the-art recording makes an ideal introduction to Martin's music.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.