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21.6.10

Chopin's Chamber Music

available at Amazon
Chopin, Cellos Sonata / Piano Trio / Grand Duo, A. Brantelid, M. Shirinyan, V. Frang

(released on February 9, 2010)
EMI 6 87742 2 | 68'42"

Online scores:
Chopin's First Editions Online
Here is another release to note in this Chopin anniversary year, which includes almost all of the chamber music that Chopin wrote for instruments other than the piano. The Polish composer took an interest in the cello after meeting French cellist August Franchomme (1808–1884) in Paris, writing his lone cello sonata (G minor, op. 65) for him and teaming up with him to compose the Grand Duo concertant for cello and piano, using themes from Meyerbeer's opera Robert le Diable (Franchomme was playing in performances of this opera in the orchestra of the Opéra de Paris at the time). The only piece from their collaboration that is missing from this new disc is the very early Introduction and Polonaise brillante in C major, whose cello part Franchomme helped Chopin to rewrite. The composer's only piano trio (G minor, op. 8) dates from an earlier period, composed for a cello-playing prince back in Poland and with most of the difficult music kept in the piano part, but it rounds out the program beautifully. All of these pieces are amply represented on disc, but if you do not own one of them, this recital by some of EMI's younger musicians -- Danish cellist Andreas Brantelid, Armenian pianist Marianna Shirinyan (a prize winner at the 2006 ARD Music Competition), and Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang (a protégée of Anne-Sophie Mutter, whom we have heard live once before) -- is a good way to get to know them. These pieces are not, for the most part, great music, with the possible exception of the latest one, the cello sonata: something about having to think about other instruments seemed to hamper the freedom of Chopin's imagination. They are played with sensitivity and élan by all three of these young musicians.

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