★★★★☆

A title like The Chopin Album, might lead you to expect a disc from the latest pianistic talent, but happily on this occasion it’s a collection of repertoire for cello and piano duo from close friends, cellist Sol Gabetta and pianist Bertrand Chamayou.

The stunning centrepiece is the significant Cello Sonata in G Minor. The complexity of the first movement alone is a marvel, and it’s a shame the piece isn’t more widely known. Gabetta talks about approaching Chopin as a bel canto composer, who was always aware of a ‘vocal’ line in the music. It’s a fitting analogy and Chamayou and Gabetta show great sensitivity towards the primary melody, while still uncovering Chopin’s rich polyphony. The Largo movement is achingly beautiful, without becoming too overly sentimental. 

The militaristic Polonaise Brilliante provides both Chamayou and Gabetta with plenty of virtuosic scope and both performers relish the opportunity. The remainder of the album serves as a tribute to the friendship between Chopin and respected cellist Auguste-Joseph Franchomme. The two men co-authored the Grand Duo Concertant and worked independently on arrangements and transcriptions of Chopin’s music. An original work of Franchomme’s is included on the album, the Nocturne for Cello and Piano in E Minor. It’s a wonderful recording of neglected repertoire performed by two vibrant musical talents.

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