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Duos for Violin and Cello
Zoltan KODALY (1882-1967)

Duo for violin and cello Op.7 (1914) [26:29]
Justus Johann Friedrich DOTZAUER (1783-1860)

Duo for violin and cello Op.124 (1830s) [12:05]
Reinhold GLIERE (1875-1956)

Huit morceaux Op.39 (1909): No.1 Prelude [2:28]; No.3 Berceuse [2:32]; No.4 Canzonetta [1:36]; No.7 Scherzo [2:52]
Niccolò PAGANINI (1782-1840)

Duetto No.1 for violin and cello (c.1801-04) [8:35]
Adrien Francois SERVAIS (1807-1866) and Joseph GHYS (1801-1848)

Variations brillantes sur 'God save the King' Op.38 (c.1835) [10:51
Rudens Turku (violin)
Wen-Sinn Yang (cello)
rec. St Dunstanís Church, Mayfield, Sussex, June 2007
AVIE AV 2124 [68:09]

Experience Classicsonline

Avie does come up with some diverting instrumental compilations. This one teams violinist Rudens Turku with cellist Wen-Sinn Yang and sets them loose on some wide-ranging material. The best known is the Kodaly Duo, the least known - well itís a toss up between the Dotzauer Duo and the Servais-Ghys confection.

The folklorically inflected Kodaly receives a powerful and expressive reading here. Propulsion is accompanied by tonal breadth and depth and a splendid sense of ensemble. The celloís sawing interjections in the second movement and the palpable feeling of foreboding are finely realised; this is surely the closest Kodaly ever came to Janáčekís sound world. The finale does also sound, though rather more equable and fluid, rather like moments from the Moravian composerís writing, even from the Violin Sonata - though this wasnít written until seven years later of course. There are many alternatives in this work Ė Kennedy/Harrell (EMI), Sparf/Lavotha (BIS), and going back the Gingold/Starker on Delos are just a few of them.

Dotzauerís Duo was written some time in the 1830s. It has a slow introduction and two sets of variations from Rossiniís William Tell. This is vibrant, well matched duo playing with some especially juicy vibrato from Turku in the second set of variations. Glièreís Morceaux Ė four of the eight are performed here Ė have their full quotient of melancholia. The Prelude certainly cleaves to the bosom of Mother Russia, the Berceuse bespeaks Tchaikovsky with a hint of pain once more. Paganiniís infectious Duo receives an elegant and wittily phrased traversal not least in its Rondo finale. Then finally we have the saucy Servais and Ghys. The former was an eminent cellist, the latter an eminent violinist and together they concocted the variations on God Save the King, who happened at the time to be William IV. The melody is shared out quite democratically along with a plethora of pizzicati, ascending and descending lines and some Paganinian-inspired virtuosity. Engaging if fluffy.

The recording quality is first class with a well-judged balance between the two instruments and there are some good notes to complete the package. Kodaly offers the strongest meat and around it are satellites of virtuosity and sentiment.

Jonathan Woolf





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