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Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967)
Duo for violin and cello, Op. 7 (1914) [23.30]
Reinhold GLIČRE (1875-1956)
Eight duets for violin and cello, Op. 39 (1909) [15.51]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Sonata for violin and cello (1920/22) [18.40]
Felix Froschhammer (violin); Florian Rohn (cello)
rec. 2010, Domovina Studio, Prague, Czech Republic
ARCODIVA UP0149-2 131 [58.15]

This collection of works for violin and cello issued in 2013 has just come to my attention and it seems appropriate for MusicWeb International to comment. Froschhammer and Rohn have traversed Europe metaphorically speaking with works from Hungarian Zoltán Kodály, Reinhold Gličre from the Ukraine and Frenchman Maurice Ravel.

Kodály wrote only a small body of chamber music including this Duo for violin and cello, a work written in 1914 and premiered in 1918. In three movements this substantial piece assimilates traditional Hungarian folk music - an area in which the composer was a committed advocate. Firm and resolute and then tender and sympathetic the opening Allegro serioso, non troppo has a memorable folk-infused quality. Especially delightful is the central movement, an intensely warm and lyrical Adagio with a melancholy undertow. The thrilling Finale generates an impressive sound-world full of boldness and adventure.

It was after his return to Moscow from studying in Berlin that Gličre in 1909 composed his Eight Duets for violin and cello. These are engaging examples of Gličre’s command of the miniature form. The eight movements are full of interest and contrast. I relished the steely determination of the melodic Canzonetta, the reflective Intermezzo and an Impromptu that is full of yearning passion. Most memorable is the concluding duet a rapidly-paced Etude of stunning virtuosity.

Written in 1920/22, Ravel dedicated his Sonata for violin and cello to the memory of Debussy; his older contemporary. Lean and economic in texture this four movement score has a rather serious character. I particularly enjoyed the opening Allegro which is permeated with the sight, sounds and perfumed aromas of Paris. The rhythmic finale is equally memorable being colourful and strongly driven.

Stylish and colourfully expressive the partnership of Froschhammer and Rohn deliver superbly engaging accounts that vividly bring these scores to life. Playing with unity and glorious intonation I was struck by these musicians' innate musicianship. The warm, clear sound is most satisfying. If the programme suits then do get this highly enjoyable release.

Michael Cookson



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