REVERIE Jian Wang / Göran Söllscher 4776401
Setting up exactly the right atmosphere in a compilation disc of this nature requires musicians of exceptional technical skill, as well as a capacity to communicate an active enjoyment both of the music an the experience of playing together. These qualities are in abundance here, the chemistry between Wang and Söllscher producing performances that are extremely polished but spontaneous in this intimately recorded programme.
. . . be in no doubt that this collection is driven by Wang's musical and emotional heritage, and it's an unlikely mix of songs with special childhood significance alongside personal favourites. The combination of cello and guitar does work very sweetly for much of the material . . . The guitarist has turned arranger for many of these familiar melodies, including a charming version of "Salut d'amour", but it's his passion for Piazzolla that won me over.
"Reverie" is indeed a collection of fragrant petals, albeit far from dry. The works are well chosen, sensitively arranged and tastefully ordered. More importantly, though, the playing is exquisite. Rarely have I heard Wang so beautifully restrained; rarely have I heard Söllscher so naturally expressive . . . their individual timbres and modes of tone production provide a wealth of variety. Falla's "Danza espanola" No. 1 and "Nana" (from his "Siete canciones populares espanolas") combine to form the ideal exordium, immediately grabbing the listener's attention while providing a perfect summary of the whole disc. The vibrant colours and exciting rhythms of the "Danza" become muted and yet more emotionally dense in the song, Wang matching the weight of his tone to Söllscher's feathery harmonics while sacrificing nothing in terms of intensity. The effect is mesmerising . . . Many examples of each artist's sensitivity to the other follow, Piazzolla's "Milonga del ángel" and the famous "Sicilienne" among the best. But really there are no disappointments. Even the base metal of "Memory" from "Cats", with which the disc ends, is transformed into pure gold.