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The most middling record of 2017

November 17, 2017 by norman lebrecht

9 comments.


I have broken another rule in this week’s Lebrecht Album of the Week:

I am about to break another of my hard-and-fast rules. A while back, I swore never to give another three-star review as long as lived on the grounds that such things are cop-outs for critics who cannot make up their minds, one way or another, about the recommendability of a record. One way or another, I stand by that judgement. So why the exception?…

Read on here

And here.

And here.

 


Comments (9)

  1. boringfileclerk says:

    I’m confused by your review. I think you give it three stars for the kitschy marketing campaign. While the marketing was rather cheesy, the playing itself all around was top drawer. If you are complaining about celebrity collaborations of this sort, it has always been problematic. This is especially true when two celebrity musicians, who are friends, try to find programing for a combination that resists such things. I didn’t find anything wrong with the album musically speaking. It’s not like that garish Pavarotti/Bono collaboration way back when…

    You could, however, have given three stars to the latest Andreas Scholl Bach collaboration. It’s a perfect example of a once stellar musician giving an embarrassingly poor performance.

    1. erich says:

      a punto!!!!!

    2. Elingtonia says:

      The garish collaboration between Bono and Pavarotti produced one of the most beautiful and emotional pieces of music I have ever heard……………and Pavarotti in full voice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNYX9Z74RoA
      But then those with closed minds and the need to put music in boxes will of course dismiss this as commercial trash………it is their loss!

  2. Robert Roy says:

    I’ve been a fan of Ms. Bartoli for a long time and Ms. Gabetta for a relatively short time. A 1star, 3 stars or 12 stars review will not prevent me from purchasing or listening to this album. There are some artists for whom criticism is neither looked for nor valued and both these artists fall into that category.

    I, for one, will very much look forward to listening to this album on Boxing Day with a tutkey sandwich and a malt whisky. A critic’s opinion will be very far from my thoughts.

    (A isn’t it time critics told we ‘punters’ how they listened to their advanced copies?! Listening in the car, on the bus or tube or in a custom built listening room? And what equipment? A Walkman, MP3 or a £500,000 system? We deserve to be told!)

  3. Robert Roy says:

    I’ve been a fan of Ms. Bartoli for a long time and Ms. Gabetta for a relatively short time. A 1star, 3 stars or 12 stars review will not prevent me from purchasing or listening to this album. There are some artists for whom criticism is neither looked for nor valued and both these artists fall into that category.

    I, for one, will very much look forward to listening to this album on Boxing Day with a tutkey sandwich and a malt whisky. A critic’s opinion will be very far from my thoughts.

    (And isn’t it time critics told us ‘punters’ how they listened to their advanced copies?! Listening in the car, on the bus or tube or in a custom built listening room? And what equipment? A Walkman, MP3 or a £500,000 system? We deserve to be told!)

  4. Bruce says:

    From the review:

    As for the music, it consists of Baroque arias that Bartoli sings exceedingly well, with Gabetta coming right back at her on a 1759 Guadagnini cello that was made just for this sort of entertainment. Only one of the arias is a blockbuster – Handel’s Cecilia Ode; the rest are jolly good cuts of Caldara, Albinoni, Vivaldi and others, done to the point of listener fatigue. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this record. It is as good as it gets, until you realise that you can get too much of a good thing.

    The trouble here is that this record is neither one thing nor another, neither a diva showcase nor an illuminating musical experience, nor even a shameless Christmas stocking filler…

    Two questions though:

    1. Can you really get too much of a good thing, if it really is good? I suppose a certain element of sameness could creep in if you listen to the entire disc beginning to end; if that’s what “too much of a good thing” means, then each listener can decide for him/herself how much is too much (or enough).

    2. Does it have to be either a diva showcase or “an illuminating musical experience”?

    Bartoli has put out many, many “diva showcase” CDs in her 25+ year career. She doesn’t need to put out another one. Ad not everyone has the psychic & emotional energy for a gripping/ transformative/ whatever musical experience every time they listen to music. I love the final trio from Rosenkavalier probably more than chocolate, but I can’t listen to it every time I put headphones on. I just can’t. There are a few pieces that shatter me every time, and a few specific performances, and I have to listen to them sparingly or they’ll wear me out. In the meantime there are multitudes of perfectly lovely, rewarding recordings that I can listen to and be happy. Your review makes this recording look like one of the latter.

    P.S. “The sleeve-notes, by the way, are uncommonly well written.” Really, you’re trying to convince us to buy this recording, aren’t you? 🙂

    1. Bruce says:

      *AND* not everyone has etc. etc.

      My computer’s keyboard is having trouble with N’s and I don’t always catch it.

  5. Mi8ke Schachter says:

    I guess if it is too much a of a good thing you pause or switch off and come back later. I am tempted. I heard Sol Gabetta a few weeks ago in Edinburgh with a Swiss orchestra, was very good in a piece I don’t like very much.

  6. Pedro says:

    I am going to hear them live in Essen later in the month. Gabetta is a very fine cellist. I remember a superb Shostakovitsch 1 with the Concertgebouw and Gatti. Bartoli is ” hors-concours” in this repertory.


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