Previously published on September 20
Among his appointments, Luigi Piovano is principal cellist of the Rome-based Santa Cecilia Orchestra of which Sir Antonio Pappano is music director. They make for an engaging duo – Piovano playing on a rich-toned Alessandro Gagliano instrument from 1710, Pappano making hay with a Steinway Model D ‘Centennial’ (37168) of 1878.
These are attractive accounts of Brahms’s two emotionally wide-ranging Cello Sonatas, respectively Opuses 38 & 99 – richly expressive from the cellist, dramatic and delicate from the pianist – generating poeticism and electricity in tandem. Occasionally I would have liked greater presence from the piano, although I think the recorded balance faithfully reflects the sometimes reticent nature of the instrument – for there is no doubting that Pappano exploits a wide dynamic range and that he and Piovano, who cultivates a gorgeous mahogany-deep timbre, are as impassioned and as sensitive as the music demands.
Opening proceedings and coming between the Sonatas are the Opus 72 brace of Romances by Giuseppe Martucci (1856-1909); miniatures both, they are full of eloquent song.
Recorded 25-27 October last year at a villa in Siena, Arcana A479 is released on September 25.