An­to­nio Me­ne­ses (cello) ★★★ Avie AV 2328

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - MICHAEL DER­VAN

For the solo cello reper­toire, the 19th cen­tury can look like an ex­tended empty space be­tween the Bach suites on the 18th­cen­tury side and Kodály’s as­ton­ish­ingly orig­i­nal 1915 sonata on the other. Brazil­ian cel­list An­to­nio Me­ne­ses thinks dif­fer­ently. He of­fers works by Jean-Louis Du­port (1749-1819), Al­fredo Pi­atti (1822-1901) and David Pop­per (1843-1913) as a re­minder that the 19th cen­tury was not com­pletely bare. And he sug­gests that Pi­atti’s 12 Caprices, Op 25, are the pin­na­cle of 19th­cen­tury solo cello achieve­ment. For ori­en­ta­tion, think Pa­ganini rather than Bach or Kodály. Even Me­ne­ses’s pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cacy and beau­ti­ful, soft-grained tone, can’t mask the fact that the ex­plo­ration of cello tech­nique tri­umphs over mu­si­cal con­cerns in th­ese pieces. Try them one at a time for the best ef­fect.

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