Magyar Narancs: Solo Cello Portrait

 

Can a record by an instrumental musician function as a self-portrait? Yes, certainly. When an artist sketches her own intellectual features through selecting particular pieces of particular composers, and adds her technique by playing them it tells a great deal of the author’s personality. Ditta Rohmann (1983) has selected works from the past hundred years’ Hungarian cello literature – only solo pieces in which she can show herself freely without having to share the stage. The Hungarian origin of the works is just as important as the fact that they are all examples of modern music. Using the trendy phrase: these pieces move the player out of her comfort zone by representing irregular, experimental music. That refers even to Kodály’s grandiose Solo sonata, whose elemental passion overwhelms the audience through Rohmann’s unique craft of playing her instrument.

After Kodály it is exciting to listen to Ligeti’s folklore-inspired Solo sonata. Péter Eötvös’ work, Two poems to Polly, in which player recites text is an example of combining literature with composition.

The record has two more pieces by Barnabás Dukay; and as a red thread spanning this anthology are short movements by Kurtág coming as a wedge between longer compositions functioning as ‘contrast agent’. Suggestive, virtuoso cello playing of pure tone, accurate interpretations fueled by personality, and rich in detail. We hear dozens of movements, longer and shorter sometimes by composers of substantially different worldviews, yet the overall effect is still pleasantly uniform. The sensitivity with which the performer embraces the works is the common platform for the individual pieces. One may agree with the title: this record is truly a self-portrait.

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Source: Magyar Narancs

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