Christian Poltéra & Shai Wosner at Wigmore Hall

Beethoven
Sonata in G minor for Piano and Cello, Op.5/2
Brahms
Sonata No.1 in E minor for Cello and Piano, Op.38

Christian Poltéra (cello) & Shai Wosner (piano)


Reviewed by: Ben Hogwood

Reviewed: 10 May, 2010
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

Christian Poltéra. Photograph: Marco BorggreveFor this BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert, Christian Poltéra and Shai Wosner chose two sonatas placing cello and piano on an equal footing.

Their Beethoven was robust, particularly in the faster sections, though occasionally one could hear the thump of the sustaining pedal as it was applied by Wosner. The opening Adagio took a little while to settle rhythmically, with the dotted notes varied in the extent of their pronouncement, but there was nonetheless a sense of occasion to the cello’s recitative. Wosner was particularly effective in the tricky runs of the finale, finding impressive levels of detail in even the most complicated passages. Poltéra meanwhile had a lovely singing tone, bringing out the playful nature of a movement whose melody looks ahead to the Fourth Piano Concerto. This melody charmed in its final appearance, the pair finishing the sonata ‘con brio’.

Brahms’s E minor Sonata featured a tense yet slightly withdrawn first movement, the murmuring subject in the lower register of the cello growing gradually to its climax high up on the ‘A’ string. This measured approach took the composer’s marking of Allegro non troppo at its word, finding a steely resolve in the development section. The quieter passages were not so well balanced, with Wosner a little withdrawn on his thematic material. However the balance between the two was spot-on for a second movement that danced the minuet attractively and quite skittishly, in contrast to the heavier set trio. The crowning glory, however, was the fugue, an authoritative rendition that only briefly hinted at lyrical asides. Wosner really came into his own here, his left-hand delivering the principal subject with a stern countenance, though as the pair reached the closing bars there was a real sense of triumph through resolve.



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