Vierne, Widor

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COMPOSERS: Vierne,Widor
LABELS: Hanssler
ALBUM TITLE: Vierne, Widor
WORKS: Vierne: Cello Sonata, Op. 27; Widor: Suite, Op. 21; Cello Sonata, Op. 80
PERFORMER: Peter Bruns (cello), Annegret Kuttner (piano)


A new and welcome series featuring French cello music begins with two composers best known for their organ works. Both Charles-Marie Widor and Louis Vierne, however, deserve wider exposure, and this disc offers further proof of the quality of their chamber music. Indeed, Widor’s output was as wide-ranging as his fascinating life (1844-1937), which spanned several momentous chapters in French history and brought him into contact with musical figures ranging from Rossini to Milhaud. Three exquisite miniatures from Widor’s Op. 21 Suite for cello and piano open this programme in style, and his intricately worked Sonata, Op. 80, is even more rewarding. In place of the drive that characterises his organ symphonies, his chamber writing displays lyrical fluency. The near-blind Vierne, Widor’s one-time pupil and assistant, led a less charmed life, dying (at the organ console of Notre-Dame) in the same year as his mentor. His Cello Sonata was written in 1910 during a time of personal crisis and pain is certainly confronted in the austere slow movement. The work receives a performance worthy of its dedicatee, Pablo Casals, for Peter Bruns’s warm playing has consistent eloquence and musical honesty. Annegret Kuttner is a responsive partner. John Allison