Live Classics’ Natalia Gutman “Portrait” series continues with a second volume documenting the cellist’s work from her early career up to the present. A 1967 German radio broadcast of the Debussy Cello Sonata stands out for Gutman’s warm, expansive tone and strong, fluid support from pianist Alexei Nassedkin. A few moments of uncertain intonation and less-than-centered articulation in the second movement’s opening pizzicatos are a small price to pay for fine overall ensemble values. Gutman shines in the declamatory, slow-motion passages that dominate the outer movements of Schnittke’s First Cello Sonata, and throws herself head first into the central Presto’s roller-coaster arpeggios and ruthless clusters. A gripping performance, this: every bit as authoritative as Alexander Ivashkin’s with the composer’s widow Irina Scnittke at the piano. She’s a more sensitive colorist than Gutman’s solid yet comparatively monochrome Vassily Lobanov.
The 31 year-old vocalist Natalia Mateo is a wanderer between the worlds - musically and in real life. Born in Poland, raised in Austria and now living in Germany, she has absorbed the most varied of impressions and cultures into her being. She draws from the Slavic ballad tradition, from American jazz and singer-songwriters ranging from Joni Mitchell to Amy Macdonald, and from contemporary pop and rock music, covering Lou Reed, Tom Waits and Lady Gaga. Mateo s music is a highly personal declaration of love to tradition and modernity, to familiarity on the one hand and on the other to the wanderlust throbbing in her heart and head, to the beauty of emotional attachment, of deepest interpersonal relationships and the independence we live while in them.