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Frydéryk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Nocturne, Op. 72, No.1 (1827) (arranged by Sergei Taneyev) [4:43]
Prelude, Op.28, No.6 (1836-38) [1:58]
Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 65 (1845-46) [30:06]
Prelude, Op.28, No.4 1838) (arr. Mørk and Stott) [2:29]
Waltz, Op.34, No.2 (1831) [6:27]
Nocturne (after Nocturne in C sharp minor, Op. Posth (1830) arr. Mørk and Stott) [4:39]
Introduction et Polonaise brillante in C major, Op.3 (1829, Introduction 1830) [9:05]
Nocturne, Op.55, No.2 (1843) [4:58]
Étude, Op.25, No.7 (1836) (arr. Glazunov) [5:41]
Étude, Op.10, No.6 (1830) (arr. Glazunov) [3:56]
Truls Mørk (cello)
Kathryn Stott (piano)
rec. 21-23 September 2006, Østre Fredrikstad Church, Norway. DDD
VIRGIN CLASSICS 3857842 [74:06]
Experience Classicsonline

There are some truly lovely sounds here. The playing is of remarkable eloquence and tonal beauty but it does come at some cost. It’s been very closely miked and one can hear Truls Mørk’s frequent intakes of breath. I mention this at the outset because, for all the luminous pleasures on offer, there are some who will resist the cellist’s gasps and will find the recording set-up too unhelpful in this respect.  
For those who can banish such things – not exactly a trifle in this case, but nevertheless relatively unimportant – there are some wonders to hear. Mørk is one of the most admirable of contemporary players, one seemingly incapable of making ugly sounds. He’s formed a powerful and intensely expressive partnership with Kathryn Stott and in this recording of the Cello Sonata he has superseded his earlier traversal with Andsnes. 
Tonal beauty is allied to a finely exercised sense of the sonata’s architecture. It’s a reading of mellifluous fluency and elegance; the moderato indication is rightly stressed in the first movement but there’s nothing rhythmically flaccid or self-regarding about the tonal resources on offer. It’s true that it’s not a performance that radiates the allure of Rostropovich and Argerich on DG 4198602 or the tensile incision of Starker and Sebok [Mercury 434358] but it does possess very considerable independent qualities of its own. High amongst them is expressive generosity – the well-judged second movement rubati for instance – and there is no over-intensity in the B section, something of which some pairings are guilty. The slow movement is notable for its sheer finesse and refinement – dynamics are assured and never self-serving.
The Introduction et Polonaise brillante in C major brings some welcome bite and spruce rhythmic dynamism. Note too Stott’s compelling pianism and the brilliance of her right hand colouration. The remainder of the programme is given over to arrangements. The two musicians have transcribed the Prelude Op.28 No.4 and its beautiful cantabile, with splendid equalized scale, and its hint of melancholia work very well.  Mørk and Stott also do the honours with the Nocturne [C sharp minor, op. posth.]  which has a Spanish tinge. The Op.55 No.2 Nocturne has an especially compelling and plangent pianissimo ending. But all these arrangements reflect well on transcribers – including Taneyev and Glazunov – and performers. They’re played with as much tonal and expressive control as the sonata – no slumming here or indeed exaggerated phrasing.
Naturalness is all in this refined and splendidly elegant recital.
Jonathan Woolf

see also review by Michael Cookson



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