In 2007-08, the Swiss cellist Christian Poltéra made his debut on BIS with a series of discs dedicated to three compatriots of his: the composers Othmar Schoeck, Arthur Honegger and Frank Martin. The unconventional programmes mixed chamber music and orchestral works centred on the cello, and were received with acclaim by the international music press. ‘An ideal introduction to Martin’s music’ enthused the reviewer in Gramophone, where that release was an Editor’s Choice, while the Schoeck anthology was described as ‘a beautifully-played collection that fills an important gap’ in American Record Guide, and the French magazine Diapason gave the Honegger disc its Diapason d’or, calling it ‘une pure merveille’. In reviews of all three discs, the orchestral support from the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and Tuomas Hannikainen was especially remarked upon, as were the respective virtues of the three concertos: ‘a nostalgic, dark-hued lyrical quality that makes for absorbing listening’ (Schoeck, International Record Review); ‘a typically suave, sophisticated score, boasting a surprisingly astringent but compellingly rhythmic Finale’ (Martin, BBC Music Magazine); ‘wonderful, jazzy tunes …, plenty of fireworks for the soloist, and it packs a huge amount of contrast into its quarter-hour of playing time’ (Honegger, ClassicsToday.com). These three works, composed between 1929 and 1966 and all too rarely heard today, have now been combined; an occasion not to be missed by anyone interested in exploring some highly individual 20 th-century cello scores, or in getting to know one of today’s most impressive young cellists.
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