Citations | Quotes
#2 for 2020: Elinor Frey, Marco Valli, Federica Bianchi, Giangiacomo Pinardi, Giuseppe Clemente Dall'Abaco Cello Sonatas (Passacaille)
"Baroque cellist Elinor Frey's projects are always interesting, but she really outdid herself on her latest album, which marks the first ever recording of these 18th-century sonatas. After learning everything there is to know about Dall'Abaco (even visiting his house), Frey recorded these sonatas in the elaborately frescoed Sala della Carità in Padova, Italy, with an outstanding little group of musicians. Together, they reveal all the verve, tenderness and surprises that abound in Dall'Abaco's music. Frey plays a Karl Dennis cello, which is an exact copy of the Cristiani Stradivari, and her tone is incredibly sweet and unforced as she sails through her phrases and ornaments with apparent ease and infectious joy."
— CBC, December 2020
L’archet souple et passionné de la soliste, l’engagement qu’elle déploie pour animer le discours avec précision et sensibilité, trouvent mieux qu’un soutien, un véritable écho dans une basse continue cultivant une discrétion à la floraison sans cesse renouvelée. L’essence même du style galant s’invite dans cette conversation d’égaux où chacun peut faire valoir ses talents ; en les mettant au service de la grâce et de l’harmonie, sans autre prétention qu’un plaisir bien compris, ce quatuor comble nos sens autant que notre esprit.
— Jean-Christophe Pucek, Diapason Magazine, juillet 2020
Frey performs these sonatas of varied design and content with style and air, mastering their various technical challenges across the instrument’s extensive range with apparent ease and adding extempore ornamentation aplenty. She shapes the line in the wistful slow movements with seasoned musicality, especially the moving third movement of ABV 35, and she makes the utmost of the final long appoggiatura in ABV 18’s expressive Andantino. These performers conjure up a pleasing variety of texture throughout, interpreting the 5-movement ABV 30 without harpsichord and regularly making subtle changes of instrumental combination and colour elsewhere. Particularly unusual are the finale of ABV 35, with its pizzicato and other effects, and the rustic outer movements of ABV18, especially its finale's folksy drones and dances. Two of ABV 19’s three movements are better known in adaptations by Martin Berteau. Vividly captured, the recording is realistically balanced with Frey well in the foreground.
— Robin Stowell, The Strad, 2020
Montreal based cellist Elinor Frey, who displays a proclivity for music by composers on the outer fringes, ranging from obscure Baroque composers like Fiore and Colombi to ultra-modern names like Lefkowitz and Godin, brings out all the grace and elegance inherent to these Sonatas, with a bowing technique that shapes and colors the music with a variety of tonal characteristics.
— Jean-Yves Duperron, March 2020
This latest project from the enterprising Canadian cellist Elinor Frey follows the same path with a (mostly) unaccompanied recital of specially commissioned music, presented on a vividly recorded CD that features completely convincing, technically flawless playing.
— Carlos María Solare, The Strad, 2019
Elinor Frey is a creative musician who likes to break new ground as she has shown with previous recordings, such as the 'Berlin Sonatas' (Passacaille, 2015). In addition she is an outstanding musician; in her hands the music really comes to life.
— Johan van Veen, Musica-Dei-Donum
...the elegantly shaped bowed lines contrasting with the gently pointed bass notes and occasional flourished chord – simply exquisite. Full marks then for discovery and execution!
— Brian Clark, Early Music Review
Frey’s notes – a model of erudition lightly worn – add greatly to the CD’s value."
"Voice and instrument complement each other, either through imitation or contrast, in music that makes the most expressive use of the rhetorical means that were a lingua franca in Baroque word-setting. Suzie LeBlanc’s clear voice contrasts beautifully with Frey’s tone, both being equally agile and expressive.
— Carlos Maria Solare, The Strad
Oh my, this is an elegant recording! From the simple opening bars of Fioré’s G Major Cello Sonata, the highest calibre of music-making is established and doesn’t waver for the duration of the disc.
— Larry Beckwith, The Whole Note
Listen close now and you will hear Fiorè prove just as daring, its interpretations just as edgy and original. One tour through these pieces and you will realize that Elinor Frey is evolving into a legendary cellist with this unmistakable sound all her own.
In her hands, the possibilities of the Baroque cello are endless... you hear that Frey is not only about the rote mastery of chords. Instead, she infuses the music with emotion and feeling and a true depth of imagination. Suddenly, these centuries-old-pieces leap out at the walls, raw and vital and relevant.
— John Aiello, Electric Review
As Frey demonstrates once again, early cello music is unfailingly, uncommonly, and graciously beautiful, full of surprise; the overall effect on this recital is further enchanted by six operatic arias interleaved with the various cell items; the singer herself is an enchanting artist, the Canadian soprano Suzie LeBlanc. And Frey’s partners in crime throughout are as miraculously subtle and engaged as she, the legendary harpsichordist Lorenzo Ghielmi, and the eloquent young lutenist Esteban La Rotta.
— Laurence Vittes, Southern California Early Music Society Journal
Elinor Frey contributed an engaging solo moment with Jean-Pierre Duport’s Etude No. 8 for solo cello, simulating a duet between cello and continuo. Beautifully shaping its singing lines, she made an equally lyrical visit to the higher range of the instrument near the end of the piece.
— Daniel Hathaway, ClevelandClassical.com
Soutenue par le pianoforte attentif et délicat de Lorenzo Ghielmi, Elinor Frey pénètre avec beaucoup de profondeur et de sensibilité ce langage en mutation permanente. Virtuose aguerrie, capable d'abandon comme de la plus convaincante autorité, elle rend pleinement justice à ce répertoire peu fréquenté.
— Philippe Ramin, Diapason Magazine
Anyone numb to these overplayed [Bach] suites should go to her next concert.
— Lev Bratishenko, Montreal Gazette
Indeed, all of the music and the way it has been recorded and performed creates a magnetic effect. I am full of admiration for all of these musicians and the way they have brought these Berlin Sonatas to life. These may seem at first glance like a dry selection of composers but nothing could be further from the truth. We’re given a healthy dose of “the mid-century Berlin aesthetic” and come away feeling enlightened, elevated, and royally entertained.
— Dominy Clements, Musicweb International
Frey provides an extended essay to explain why she feels a five-string cello is appropriate, and likely originally intended, for this repertoire. She makes a strong case for the instrument, not only in her writing but more particularly in her performance, especially in two violin solo works by Benda, here heard one octave below their intended pitch.
— David Olds, The Whole Note
Frey’s careful scholarship and brilliant layering of moods and tempos on this, her second album, make for a great program…Frey’s assured technique and natural-sounding musicality. She is one of a growing number of younger performers who can make period instrumental solos sizzle with the same heat as artists using modern instruments and bows.
— John Terauds, Toronto Star
Enterprising Elinor Frey recreates the impact the new instrument had on the classical music establishment of the time with playing of eloquence and style; i.e., that probes the emotional edges of the music's beauty without entirely losing control.
— Laurence Vittes, Huffington Post
Frey’s playing is adroit, expressive and engaging; and she also appears to have the happy ability to marry her own voice to those of the composers, rather than getting in their way.
— Alison Melville, Whole Note Magazine
Of the eleven caprices, Frey has selected the more reflective of the works, demonstrating her vocalization of the line, and she is extremely persuasive in promoting them as mainstream repertoire.
— Joanne Talbot, The Strad
In addition to the honest, reflective beauty of her music making, Frey showcases the range of localizations which might have taken place based on bow grip, scordatura, and other variables.
— Laurence Vittes, Strings Magazine
Elinor Frey is on a one-woman mission to think outside Bach's solo cello suites.
— Robert Rowat, CBC Music
In La Voce del Violoncello, Frey gives a virtuoso performance: Her playing layered and instinctual, at one with the breadth of the notes. As you listen to the pieces on this recording, you come to realize that Frey is not merely playing music, but instead, feeling the impulses of the compositions rise through her being – pulsating through blood, consuming flesh and bones.
— John Aiello, Electric Review
The program here is little short of magical, and Elinor Frey's expressive playing and command of the baroque violoncello is remarkable to behold. It's quite obvious that the depth of her studies and explorations of this repertory has greatly informed the magnificence of her playing.
— Tom Gibbs, Positive Feedback Issue 71
Una gioia all’ascolto e una dolce compagnia al cuore.
— Franco Bruno, America Oggi
La giovane allieva statunitense Elinor Frey, di cui si è potuto ammirare l'indiscutibile e robusto talento.
— Giornale di Brescia 9/6/10
A superb cellist.
— Syracuse Post-Standard