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Bella Musica

Franz Josef HAYDN (1732-1809)
Concerto for cello and orchestra in D major. [25:54]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)

Concerto for violin and orchestra in e minor, Op. 64. [29:06]
Mirjam Tschopp, violin
Solène Kermarrec, cello
Baden-Baden Philharmonic/Werner Stiefel
rec. November 2005, Weinbrennersaal Baden-Baden.
BELLA MUSICA MB 31.2397 [55:00]

From what I can decipher, this is a commemorative disc to compliment the prizewinners in a music competition held in Baden-Baden and sponsored by the International Lions Clubs. The booklet, although rather handsome to look at, is entirely in German, and although I can usually fare pretty well in that tongue, I am not fluent enough to translate an entire CD booklet at sight; not of course that the absence of English translation should tell against the disc if the qualities of the music-making are notable.

The repertoire is not exactly rare, and I cannot imagine this recordingís existence without the benefit of the competition to which it is attached. Having said that, these are very fine spirited readings of two war-horses, and although there are innumerable other recordings of this music available, this one has some special appeal due in part to the fresh and unjaded approach that these two young women bring to the music.

Ms. Kermarrec plays with a lovely, shall I say throaty, timbre. She has a fine sense of line, and in particular, she brings off the slow movement of Haydnís popular concerto with a good deal of warmth and singing tone.

Ms. Tschopp is not lacking in technical chops, but she uses her abundant technique to further the cause of the music. This is not a "look at me" performance. It is refreshingly unvarnished and like her lower pitched colleague, she has a very fine sense of cantabile about her playing.

The Baden-Baden Philharmonie is a fine, taut ensemble that provides able and sensitive accompaniment to both soloists. You may not be tempted to make this your top shelf recording of such standards, but if you come across it, donít pass it up for lack of name recognition. Fine music-making abounds here and there is every reason to give these two young artists a chance to be heard.

Kevin Sutton



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