Amalie Stalheim og Christian Ihle Hadland framfører verk for cello og piano av Igor Stravinskij, Francis Poulenc og Claude Debussy på sin duo-debututgivelse.
For alle tre verkene på dette albumet er dialogen mellom cello og piano i sentrum. Essensielt for disse tre verkene er det å «snakke samme språk» som duopartneren, å tørre å være spontan og ikke være redd for å utfordre og stole på hverandre. I alle verkene, skrevet mellom 1910 og 1950, er det mange uventede vendinger og brå endringer. Sonatene er ikke bare teknisk utfordrende å spille, du må også kunne variere mellom stemninger og moduser på en brøkdels sekund for å klare å skildre alle de forskjellige karakterene i stykket.
Poulenc var en av de største melodikerne, med en enestående finesse og eleganse i de raske bevegelsene. Han jobbet tett med cellisten Pierre Fournier mens han komponerte cellosonaten og dedikerte stykket til ham. Stravinskys Suite Italienne ble opprinnelig skrevet for fiolin og piano, men ble snart transkribert for cello og piano med hjelp av den legendariske cellisten Gregor Piatigorsky. Debussys cellosonate (1915) var den første av en serie på seks sonater for forskjellige instrumenter som han planla å komponere, men han rakk bare å fullføre tre før sin død.
Både Stravinsky og Poulenc jobbet tett med datidens cellister for rundt et århundre siden, og på liknende vis samarbeider cellist Amalie Stalheim nå tett med samtidige komponister. Når man vokser opp med en far som er komponist, blir det naturlig å spille en aktiv rolle i komponeringsprosessen, eksperimentere med lyd og teknikker og gå i dybden i materialet sammen med komponisten. Hun har urfremført cellokonserter av Anna Lena Laurin (2018), Anders Nilsson (2020), Knut Vaage (2021), Missy Mazzoli (2021), Therese Ulvo (2022) og Jo David Meyer (2023), alle dedikert til henne.
Christian Ihle Hadland er en av Norges fremste pianister, en musiker hvis delikate, raffinerte spill og individuelle preg har ført ham til de mest prestisjefylte scenene i verden.
THE ART OF THE DIALOGUE
On their debut duo release, Amalie Stalheim and Christian Ihle Hadland present works for cello and piano by Igor Stravinsky, Francis Poulenc and Claude Debussy.
For all three pieces on this album, dialogue between cello and piano is at the center. Essential for these three pieces is to speak the same language as your duo partner, to dare to be spontaneous and not be afraid to challenge and trust in each other. In all these pieces, written between 1910 and 1950, there are so many unexpected turns and abrupt changes. All of the sonatas are not only technically challenging to play, you also need to be able to switch moods and modes in less than a split second to manage to portray all of the different characters of the piece.
Poulenc is one of the greatest melodists, combined with such finesse and elegance in the rapid movements. He worked closely with cellist Pierre Fournier while composing the Cello Sonata and dedicated the piece to him. Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne was originally written for violin and piano, but was soon transcribed for cello and piano with the help of legendary cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. Debussy’s Cello Sonata (1915) was the first of a series of six sonatas for various instruments that he planned to compose, only managing to write three before his death.
Both Stravinsky and Poulenc worked closely together with cellists about a century ago, and in a very similar way, cellist Amalie Stalheim now works closely together with contemporary composers. Growing up with a dad who’s a composer, it is natural for Amalie to play an active role during the composing process, experimenting with sound, techniques, and going in-depth in the material together with the composer. She has premiered cello concertos from composers Anna Lena Laurin (2018), Anders Nilsson (2020), Knut Vaage (2021), Missy Mazzoli (2021), Therese Ulvo (2022) and Jo David Meyer (2023), all dedicated to her.
Christian Ihle Hadland has established himself as a true craftsman of the piano, a musician whose delicate, refined playing and individual touch have led him to the most prestigious stages in the world.
"That epoch classifications in music are no more than a crutch is shown by this recording with works by three composers who can basically be called contemporaries, but whose musical language differs fundamentally. That alone gives rise to the appeal of this production, though it is heightened thanks to the interpretations. Stravinsky’s Suite italienne takes us into the composer’s neo-baroque phase, whose basic ideas (dressing the old in the new) Amalie Stalheim and Christian Ihle Hadland grasp from the start. The music breathes Mediterranean lightness, Baroque verve, breathtaking filigree (Tarantella) – everything that makes up this delicious music by Stravinsky. Then in the Poulenc Sonata, the expressiveness, the inner power elicited from the music stands out. Amalie Stalheim never pushes the intensity of her playing too far, however, allowing the music its own space and letting her instrument sing wonderfully again and again. Both lend wonderful contrasts and strong relief to this sonata, with the almost mystical mood of the Cavatine – Poulenc’s spiritual side – particularly noteworthy. Finally, we hear Debussy’s only cello sonata with a completely different sound, a different mood. Amalie Stalheim and Christian Ihle Hadland create an atmosphere of ruptures, of melancholy and passion, of mourning and rebellion, mirrors of a time when the world was on the brink. With 49 minutes the playing time is comparatively short, but here less is definitely more: a short but gripping program." Guy Engels, pizzicato.lu, 28/08/2023
Performances of great immediacy, captured by a first-rate recording "This Norwegian audiophile label makes some of the most dynamically broad and forensically detailed recordings on the market. You can almost hear the grain of the maple on Amalie Stalheim’s 1687 Francesco Rugeri in her shaping of the artless melody in the slow movement of Poulenc’s Cello Sonata, as well as every hair’s breadth variation of her vibrato, and the supportive glow of pianist Christian Ihle Hadland’s accompanying chords. All the same, these are not aridly analytical performances. The finale of the Poulenc is like a mini-Godard movie, endlessly eventful and richly characterised by Stalheim at every madcap turn. This is not ‘aristocratic’ cello playing in the old sense embodied by Tortelier and Fournier; it is generous of tone and sentiment, reaching out in the opening movement of the Debussy towards a late coming to terms with mortality, through the kind of recitative phrasing on which any Mélisande would colour her lines. The Suite italienne presents another challenge again (the album’s contrasts make for a rewarding listen at a single sitting): how to respect the superficial Neoclassicism of Stravinsky’s harmony while honouring the true emotions of his commedia dell’arte subjects? Stalheim’s approach leans into the colouristic possibilities afforded by the recording and her pianist; her spiccato in the Serenata’s reprise, the detaché of the Tarantella and the elegant cantabile of her Menuet all offer pleasure in their own right, and with an intimacy which a high-profile concerto could not emulate." Peter Quantrill, The Strad, 13.09.2023
BBC Radio 3 Record Review reviewed the recording on Saturday's show - below is what they said :)
Plays Poulenc – cello sonata Op. 43, ii) Cavatine
"The Cavatine from Francis Poulenc’s Cello Sonata, sketched during the war in the 1940’s and as you just heard in this new recording from Amalie Stalheim & Christian Ihle Hadland, this can be passionate Poulenc and they get that tricky mix of tongue in cheek humour and deep seriousness, the mischief and melancholy and those expressive slides as well. It’s a recital of three composers in France who worked closely with their cellists a century ago, Stravinsky, Poulenc and Debussy and it just arrived on the Norwegian label – Lawo."