The best thing about this CD of keyboard works from Spain and Central and South America is the warm, close sound, not what is normally heard from a harpsichord recording. It is as warm as the instrument's red and gold paintwork. The worst thing about the recording is the impression that there is little variation in tempo from work to work. The mix of pieces covers a wide period of time, stretching from the late Renaissance to the early Classical period. And the works are actually a mixture of tempo markings. What gives the impression of little difference, however, is Mario Videla's relatively strict, sometimes plodding, playing. There isn't enough of a difference between his Allegros and his Largos, and he seems to use ritards only at the very end of pieces, rarely using any kind of rubato to create interest within phrases.
Milhaud’s six little symphonies are brief, lighthearted experiments in sound combinations, and they are also very charming. These performances are delightful … precise, spirited, brilliant …
I don’t see how anyone could go wrong with these performances, which MDG captures in bright, characterful sound.
‘This set of five discs is an invitation to a rather special journey: through what you hear, and what you read too, you will traverse, guided by the cello, not one history but several histories. With these Cello Stories, our intention is to show you how an instrument and its repertoire have taken shape whilst retaining the imprint and memory of diverse origins. I have selected the musical programme from my recordings for Alpha – some of them previously unreleased – to complement the text by Marc Vanscheeuwijck and numerous contemporary illustrations.’ –Bruno Cocset
…Ensemble Villa Musica was founded in 1990 when a group of principal players from several of Germany's major orchestras assembled for master classes in Mainz under the state-sponsored Villa Musica foundation. The players decided to form the group with no limitations in repertory, but with a focus on neglected masterworks of the past. Most of the members retained their posts in orchestras and/or on the faculties of universities or music schools. The ensemble's leader since its founding has been clarinetist Ulf Rodenhäuser…
French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras explores the late Romantic repertoire on this 2013 Harmonia Mundi release and finds a kind of mirroring of intentions and expressions between Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33, and Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto, Op. 85. While this is a rather subjective understanding of the music that listeners can either take or leave, there's no denying that Queyras, conductor Jirí Belohlávek, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra offer performances of both works that are evocative and beautiful, with or without any underlying connections.
“It’s good to have a disc devoted to Klein’s music in the superb performances and lifelike sonics we’ve come to expect from Ensemble Villa Musica and MDG.“ (American Record Guide)
"…If this imaginative mix of tenor/bass sonatas, rather than an all-cello recital, at first seems curious it works well in practice. Those already in possession of the rival accounts listed above may not want to duplicate these works further, though I would rate the present offering most highly; for those coming new to these works, start here." ~Grammophone