It's been conventional wisdom for several generations that Solomon, great oratorio though it may be, contains a lot of deadwood; conductors have regularly cut some items and changed the order of others. (Even John Eliot Gardiner's excellent recording cuts about 30 minutes of music.) Leave it to Paul McCreesh to give us the complete score–and demonstrate that Handel's original structure makes plenty of sense and that every number is worthwhile.
The young cellist Andreas Brantelid, often accompanied and perhaps guided by the much older Bengt Forsberg, has gained notice for sheer virtuoso chops. But in this recital covering all of Gabriel Fauré's music for cello and piano, it's his way with a sheer melody that impresses the most: the two Berceuses (cradle song), the flawless unfolding of the two sonata slow movements from simple opening material (sample that of the elegiac Cello Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 117), the remarkable, 54-second Morceau de Lecture (originally for two cellos, and the only arranged work here). Brantelid certainly delivers a smooth performance of the popular Papillon, Op. 77, and all the music here – some of it well known, but most of it not so much – is a pleasure. Fauré was one of the few composers who had a real knack for writing for the cello and did so without complaining about it. The best is saved for last: the Andante for cello and harmonium is the original version of the opening Romance, Op. 69, and it's really an entirely different work, spooky and inward, with the harmonium contributing a unique wash of sound. The harmonium was an extremely common instrument in the second half of the 19th century, and it's good to hear a work played on the instrument for which it was intended. BIS contributes fine Swedish radio sound to this recommended cello recital.
Staier studied piano and harpsichord in the Hochschule für Musik in Hanover and Amsterdam. He studied piano with Kurt Bauer and Erika Haase, and harpsichord with Lajos Rovatkay. From 1983 to 1986 he was the harpsichord soloist for the ensemble Musica Antiqua Köln, touring frequently. At the same time he continued his studies in interpretation of classical and post-classical music on the fortepiano. He resigned from the ensemble in 1986 to embark on his solo career on both harpsichord and fortepiano. He became a touring fortepiano soloist, an accompanist for lieder, and a piano soloist for the ensemble Les Adieux. Between 1987 and 1996 he was Dozent for Cembalo at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel. Staier has gained a reputation as a distinguished harpsichordist, fortepiano soloist, and chamber music performer. His repertoire includes the music of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. As soloist he has performed with Concerto Köln, the Freiburg Barockorchester, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, and the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées Paris. In the field of chamber music he has had a partnerships with such artists as Christoph Prégardien, Anne Sofie von Otter, Pedro Memelsdorff, Alexei Lubimov and Christine Schornsheim. Staier has made a number of recordings, primarily of music from the Baroque through early Romantic eras, and he has performed often on the BBC. He was awarded the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (2002 and 2011) and the Prätorius Musikpreis (2008). His Mozart recording 'am Stein Vis-à-vis' was awarded a Diapason d'Or of the year 2007.