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Chopin and Mendelssohn Complete Works for Cello and Fortepiano
Sergei Istomin & Viviana Sofronitsky

Passacaille:968 & 978

Frederyk Chopin
Introduction et Polonaise Brillante; Variations brilliants; Grand duo concertant for violoncello and piano on the themes of "Robert le Diable"; Polonaise Op.26 for piano solo; Sonata Op.65 in g-minor for violoncello and piano


Felix Mendelssohn
2 cello sonatas etc
Passacaille Musica Vera 978

These are two essential recordings of 19 C chamber music played with original keyboard instruments (copies by Paul McNulty) and the review should be read in connection with Viviana Sofronitsky's recital demonstration of five fortepianos at Wigmore Hall.

Go for the Chopin first. Besides the cello works, it demonstrates the sound of two of the instruments played at that recital in solo items, copies of Graf & Pleyel originals, sounds that Chopin heard whilst composing the music at the keyboard; the Graf in the op.12 Variations brilliants, and the Pleyel in the Polonaise op.26.

The recorded performances display virtuosity from both players and total conviction in the enterprise. The notes by Marc VanScheeuwijk are fully informative, both readable and scholarly.

If after giving these recordings a leisurely listen (to give yourself time to become accustomed to what may still be unfamiliar timbres) and you still side with The Independent's reviewer of the Wigmore Hall concert (he thought that much of the music would sound better on a Steinway !) then there is little I can add, except to add that there is a perfectly competent CD of the Mendelssohn cello/piano repertoire - Colin Carr with modern piano recently received for review [Cello Classics CC1029]...

The Sofronitski/Istomin Mendelssohn disc has additionally a demonstration of the diverse training in the arts of all genres during the 19th C; the remarkable cover image is of a highly skilled watercolour by Felix Mendelssohn himself !

Peter Grahame Woolf