Brahms: Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor; Cello Sonata No. 2 in F

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COMPOSERS: Brahms
LABELS: Opus
WORKS: Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor; Cello Sonata No. 2 in F
PERFORMER: Peter Bruns (cello) Olga Tverskaya (fortepiano)
CATALOGUE NO: 111 OPS 30-144
An ideal antidote for those who find Brahms too thick to wade through, this historically informed performance by Peter Bruns and Olga Tverskaya approaches the composer with a refreshingly light touch. Bruns plays a 1730 Tononi cello, once a favourite of Casals, and finds a sweet, slightly muted tone in its upper registers; Tverskaya is heard on an 1850 Erard grand with an engagingly ‘plinky-plonk’ sound.

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In the E minor’s first movement, I was dubious: so light was the approach that the music sounded almost inconsequential, and the lower two strings, where much of it lies, growled somewhat. But from then on there are no such problems: Tverskaya in particular plays with great delicacy and grace, the Erard’s lack of resonance highlighting her accuracy in the complex faster movements. Highly recommended. Janet Banks