FELIX AUSTRIA - Pamela Smits (Cello)

Download from Amazon
FELIX AUSTRIA - Various Composers - Pamela Smits (Cello) - Sabine Simon (Piano) - 885767506350 - Released: October 2010 - Universe Classics 20101

1} Zoltán Kodály - Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 4
2} Zoltán Kodály - Sonatina for Cello and Piano
3} György Ligeti - Sonata for Solo Cello
4} Béla Bartók - First Rhapsody
5} Antonin Dvorák - Rondo in G minor, Op. 94
6} Leos Janácek - Pohádka (Fairy Tale)
7} David Popper - Hungarian Rhapsody, Op. 68

A Canadian-born Dutch cellist, a German pianist, a Dutch label, Hungarian and Czech composers spanning more than 150 years. With such a disunion, over both time and space, one would think that this seemingly disjointed collaboration and collection of pieces were hap'hazardly put together simply to fill a CD, with only the cello as a common denominator. But there is a much stronger bond through common heritage that runs throughout this recording, reinforced by the fact that Pamela Smits' cello teacher was János Starker, his teacher was Adolf Schiffer, himself a student of David Popper, one of the composers found on this CD. The styles are much varied, from Dvorák to Janácek for example, or Kodály to Ligeti, but the inherent soul of the music stems from the same roots.

Canadian-born Dutch cellist Pamela Smits and German pianist Sabine Simon first met each other in 1991, during a summer course in Ernen, Switserland given by the renowned Hungarian pianist and pedagogue György Sebök. Later, they both studied at Indiana University in Bloomington, USA, where a personal and professional friendship began that continues to this day. {Universe Classics}

This longstanding professional connection can be felt in their playing. After years of touring the world stages together, they seem to communicate by telepathy, sensing each other's expressive mood and adjusting to it on the fly. Pamela Smits herself transforms the tone of her instrument in keeping with the piece at hand, and finds its emotional nucleus.

Most of the works here have been recorded many times, some by Smits' teacher János Starker himself, but rarely have they been associated or gathered together before in such a compelling collection. If you're in the mood for Austro-Hungarian chamber music, and you favor the warm sound of a cello, this recording may very well fill the void.

Jean-Yves Duperron - September 2012