Reinhold Glière, the Complete Duets with Cello

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Reinhold Glière (1875-1956) is famously known to cellists for his Cello Concerto Op. 87, written in 1945-46 and premiered by nineteen year old Mstislav Rostropovich. Music for cello holds an important place in other areas of Glière’s output, his chamber music for example. While he is best known for large-scale works such as symphonies, ballets, operas and symphonic poems, Glière is also a master of these more intimate forms. Small scale pieces, his duets that include the cello, are the program for this Naxos CD. There are duets for violin and cello, for cello and piano, and for two cellos. While these are not first recordings, most of them appear to be the only currently available versions.

Gliere’s music continues the Russian romantic line of Borodin and Glazunov, with an evident influence of impressionism. The music is gracefully melodic, colorful, completely tonal, and very pleasant. Changes in sonorities as the cello is partnered with violin, with piano, or with another cello, provide textural variety, ensuring there is no ear-fatigue in this 72 minute program of cello music.

The warm resonant tones of cellists Martin Rummel and of Alexander Hulshoff are joined by tasteful contributions from violinist Friedemann Eichhorn and pianist Till Alexander Korber. This is an obvious acquisition for cello enthusiasts, but its circulation deserves to be much wider than that. It is very unique and beautiful music that many listeners would enjoy.