Richard Blackford

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The Davydov-Fanning Duo
Live in Concert

François COUPERIN (1668-1733)
Pièces en concert; Prélude; Siciliène; La Tromba; Plainte; Air de Diable  [10:50]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Sonata No.2 in D major BWV 1028 (1720) [14:01]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Twelve Variations in F major on Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen from the Magic Flute Op.66 (1796) [9:37]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Sonata in D minor (1917) [10:49]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Sonata No.2 in D major Op.58 (1843) [27:16]
Dieuwke Davydov (cello)
Diana Fanning (piano)
rec. live in concert, no further details
PRIVATE RECORDING [no number] [70:43]

There are minimal details available concerning this private disc, so I can’t say where it was recorded or when. I would assume very recently and maybe in New England, though it’s possible that the duo was taped on one of their many national or international tours. Dutch-born cellist Dieuwke Davydov studied with Tibor de Machula and later with Leonard Rose at Juilliard since when she has performed widely and now teaches at Middlebury College. Pianist Diana Fanning is also based at Middlebury and performs frequently in Vermont; I’ve not heard her CD of music by Debussy, Chopin and Janáček called Musical Treasures, which has been very well received, not least on this site by Rob Barnett.

Their programme has a good curve to it; Couperin as a baroque warm-up, Bach to stake intellectual credentials, the Beethoven to add variety, Debussy to cast the net into the twentieth century and finally the big Mendelssohn. The Couperin Pièces en concert make for an enjoyable opening to the recital; La Tromba is especially well done, nicely accented and well buoyed rhythmically. It gives a slightly, though enjoyably, Old School start to the concert. The Bach sonata has a warm, rather noble gravity and the understanding between the two musicians is secure and understanding – questions of tone and balance have clearly been securely resolved. Fanning is imperturbable and sensitive whilst Davydov essays one of two rather prominent but elegant portamenti in the slow movement. Under the pressure of the moment the cellist’s intonation does suffer though.

The Beethoven is amiably and confidently projected. The Debussy is something of a victim of the rather swimmy acoustic, which has the two musicians at something of a distance. The consequence is that, whilst the tempi are right, there’s a lack of intimacy and immediacy. The pizzicati in the Sérénade fortunately are not overdone as they have been in some big name performances, sometimes grotesquely so. The Mendelssohn sonata is warmly accomplished though to those for whom the 1939 Feuermann/Rupp is a lodestar this will invariably seem less intense, biting and sweeping. I wish for instance that the cello’s lower string melodies had sung out more.

A good souvenir then of this duo in concert – a slight shame about the acoustic though. I would try the address above for further details.

Jonathan Woolf




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