Chopin: Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 65; Fantaisie-Impromptu, Op. 66 (arr. Baril); Polonaise brillant, Op. 3; Nocturnes, Op. 32/1 & Op. 15/2 (arr. Grutzmacher)

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COMPOSERS: Chopin
LABELS: Analekta Fleurs de lys
WORKS: Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 65; Fantaisie-Impromptu, Op. 66 (arr. Baril); Polonaise brillant, Op. 3; Nocturnes, Op. 32/1 & Op. 15/2 (arr. Grutzmacher)
PERFORMER: Thérèse Motard (cello), Louise-Andrée Baril (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: FL 2 3142
For Chopin, that most pianistic of composers, the cello occupies a privileged position in his output and this is an appealing and varied collection that should – on paper at least – show why the heroic and lyrical expressiveness of the instrument attracted him so much.

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I first noticed my attention drifting early into the first movement of the Sonata; by the time the final Polonaise brillant hove into view, having been stirred momentarily to attention by the pointlessness of the Fantaisie-Impromptu arrangement, I was heading into the arms of Morpheus. ‘What unutterably pretty music this is,’ the two Canadians seem to be saying (and so, of course, it is). ‘Let us linger over every phrase and see just how very pretty we can make it.’ Certainly, they make a pleasant sound, are well recorded and, yes, you can stretch the seamless cantabile of, say, the Nocturnes to a certain extent. But 5:36 mins for Op. 32/1 and, even more inexplicable, 6:20 for the A minor Waltz, Op. 34/2, strays well over the border into the world of over-indulgence. It certainly emasculates the music. For a similar programme of cello originals and transcriptions turn to the brilliant Maria Kliegel for playing that really lifts the spirits. Jeremy Nicholas