The Solo Cello Sonata and the Solo Cello Suite are rather similar works that feature the virtuosity of Nakipbekova. I don’t doubt that she will become better-known in the West. While Gál’s works are melodic, they are not in a 19th century style; he found his own unique voice and wrote in a style that now seems to be in line with the work of 21st-century melodists. The first and shorter piece consists of a propulsive Andante, a lilting Minuet, and a final Vivace with a gorgeous cadenza at the end. The suite has four movements and, after a short introduction, treats us to a Fughetta with a catchy tune. The Alla Marcia is lighthearted, too; perhaps the marchers are a child and his stuffed animals. The Cavatina is a wordless aria for a velvet-voiced alto played with a delicious legato on the instrument that most closely resembles that voice. The finale is a Rondino that ends the suite in a sumptuous and traditional manner.
Nakipbekova and Fichert are a most accomplished duo and their playing is recorded in clear and present sound.

Maria Nockin Fanfare Magazine October 2012



These valuable performances include world premieres in the case of the Op.109 solo sonatas. The Cello Sonata has been recorded before. The nimble and authoritative performers in Toccata’s disc are Alfia Nakipbekova, the second half of whose surname will alert one to the fact that she was cellist in The Bekova Trio. She plays with warm tone, controlled vibrato and eloquent musicianship. Jakob Fichert is the admirable pianist, responding to the Sonata’s twists and turns with a keen ear for balance and texture. The recording (two locations) and documentation, as so often with this label, are admirable.

Jonathan Woolf


Gál New
Sonata for Violoncello and Pianoforte,
Op. 89a. Sonata for Violoncello Solo,
Op. 109a. Suite for Violoncello Solo,
Op. 109b.
Alfia Nakipbekova (cello); aJakob Fichert
Toccata Classics TOCC0043 (full price, 1 hour
4 minutes). Website
Producers/Engineers Raphaël Mouterde, James
Hesford. Dates June 10th-12th and November 17th,
There has never been a better time to get to
know the music of Hans Gál (1890-1987), the
Vienna-born composer, pedagogue and pianist
who settled in Edinburgh having fled from the
Nazis in 1938. Thanks to Avie Records, in
particular, we have the four symphonies, the
piano music (three discs’ worth) and other
pieces. Toccata Classics now gives us a Sonata
and a Suite for Violoncello Solo (both
Op. 109), composed in 1982 when Gál was
92. This is lyrical music, looking back to Bach
and with many oblique twists and turns that
keep the listener on his or her toes. It is
clear that Gál was totally on the ball as he
wrote this appealing, always inventive and
elegantly crafted music. Whatever the
formalities of the movements that make up
these complementary works, there is nothing
dry or academic about the music therein.
Song and dance is an important part of the
invention, wit too.

Alfia Nakipbekova plays superbly and with total conviction, creating many colours and dynamics from her instrument; and she is ideally recorded with tangibility and just enough air. In the earlier Sonata for Violoncello and Pianoforte (good to be
using full names!) from 1953, she is
joined by Jakob Fichert. He is an equally
fine advocate for Gál’s music. The three movement Sonata begins with an expansive
if agitated movement that is soulful and with
many heartfelt refrains that seem nostalgic.
There follows a short, spirited movement,
which may be reminiscent of Prokofiev.
The finale (of similar length to the opening
movement) begins poetically with much
inwardness before an Allegro energico bursts in without losing connection to the sorrowful
music that has preceded it. In this totally
convincing performance Hans Gál’s Cello
Sonata lives again. Colin Anderson

A review of a Elgar Cello Concerto performed by Alfia Nakipbekova with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Marius Stravinsky on the 9th December 2007 at the Cadogan Hall:

"I had never heard Ms Nakipbekova perform live and knew her better for having studied with Mstislav Rostropovich and for being one of the last present day cellists who had master classes with Jacqueline du Pre. I believe she did full justice to her distinguished late teachers. She was wonderful, delivering one of the most beautiful, poignant performances of Elgar's concerto that I have ever witnessed in concert. She instantly captured the audience with her graceful, smooth style and delicate dexterity. Her technique seems flawless, with the easy, natural legato which so often appears to be an inherent characteristic of the best cellists from the former Soviet Union."

Margarida Mota-Bull SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL (MusicWeb International's Worldwide Concert and Opera Reviews.












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