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SAINT-SAENS: Cello Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2 / Cello Suite

Composer(s):Saint-Saens, Camille
Artist(s) Kliegel, Maria, cello • Thiollier, Francois-Joel, piano
Period(s) Romantic
Genre Classical Music
Category Chamber Music
Catalogue 8.557880
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps

Unlike his two Cello Concertos, performed by Maria Kliegel on Naxos 8.553039, Saint-Saëns’ Cello Sonatas are underrated works. The turbulent Cello Sonata No. 1, which makes full use of the lower registers of both cello and piano, reflects the composer’s sadness at the loss of a great-aunt and at the state of France following Napoleon III’s crushing defeat by Prussia at Sedan in 1870. Written more than 30 years later, the Cello Sonata No. 2 is a more ambitious and original work. ‘The Adagio will bring tears to your eyes,’ Saint-Saëns wrote to his publisher, Durand, while the last movement, propelled forward in the manner of a toccata, ‘...will wake anyone who’s slept through the rest of the piece’


Review By Catherine Milligan,Stringendo,December 2007

German cellist Maria Kliegel has an exceptionally wide repertoire, and has recorded extensively for Naxos. Her recordings are always impressive for their technical command, tonal beauty and musical communication. The contribution that Saint-Saëns (1835–1921) made to the cello repertoire is indeed considerable: from his concerti to the numerous salon pieces such as the memorable Allegro Appassionato and the favourite Swan, as well as these 3 chamber works. Kleigel’s performance of the sonatas proves that they are somewhat underrated works. The cello sonatas are typical of the romantic style, and reminiscent of the Mendelssohn sonatas for the clarity of textures and attractive melodies. These works are meant to delight rather than shock.


Review By David Denton, Naxos,January 2007

The two Saint-Saens cello sonatas float around the periphery of the repertoire, recordings keeping them more in mind than do concert performances. To succeed they require the outgoing style of playing that comes from Maria Kleigel, her recording of the two cello concertos some years ago remaining among my top recommendations. The composer takes the sonatas through every mode that had garnered success for him with the opening movements furnished with grand gestures, the slow movements smooth and elegant, while the finales bubble with vitality. The Second uses a four-movement structure with a very powerful scherzo coming second. The missing ingredient in both works is the composer's usual ability to fashion instantly memorable melodies, the more



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