JS Bach: Cello Suite No. 1; Kodály: Sonata for solo cello; Ligeti: Sonata for solo cello, etc.
Astrig Siranossian (cello)
Alpha Classics ALPHA880 60:40 min
In this imaginative recital, French cellist Astrig Siranossian pays homage to her Armenian heritage. The first half is built around Bach’s Cello Suite in G major, its movements interspersed with Armenian folk tunes, which she mostly sings while playing. Each keeps G as its tonal center, each is chosen to fit the prevailing mood, and most are so concise you crave a second verse. Close mic recording can sound slightly gritty in the Bach, but this mostly subsides after the first movement.
Siranossian moves from gut strings and the Baroque bow to a modern instrument for two 20th century sonatas by Ligeti and Kodály. The Ligeti is in two movements: the first melodic and expansive, the next frantic but tightly controlled. Another folksong – a longer, darker lament – leads into Kodály’s colossal Three-Movement Sonata. Siranossian’s note implies that she is playing this 1915 work as a kind of memorial to the Armenian genocide of the same year; she certainly maintains a remarkable level of intensity throughout a performance even more fiercely lyrical than that of her hero János Starker.