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eloquent Cello Concerto

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imaginatively constructed quartets

the air from another planet

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NOT a budget performance

very attractive and interesting

finesse and stylistic assurance


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Sonata in G minor BWV1029 [16:26]
Ich ruf’ zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 [3:36]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Cello Sonata No. 3 in A, Op. 69a (1808) [20:48]
Cello Sonata No. 5 in D, Op. 102 No. 2b (1815) [19:29]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 65: Largo (1845-46) [4:01]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Drei Romanzen for clarinet and piano, Op.94, No.2 arr cello [4:09]
Maurice Gendron (cello)
Madeleine Lipatti (piano)
rec. November 1953, live Salle Gaveau, Paris

In November 1953 cellist Maurice Gendron gave a recital at the Salle Gaveau in Paris with Madeleine Lipatti (1915-1982), the widow of Dinu. A considerable pianist in her own right, she was sometimes known as the hyphenated Madeleine Cantacuzene-Lipatti. The broadcast was recorded and is presented here in very good mono sound and for once in a vintage broadcast the piano is excellently, indeed forwardly balanced.

The repertoire was thoroughly standard but there’s no hint of ennui in the performances. Bach’s Sonata in G minor BWV1029 opens the recital and whilst the tempo for the opening might now seem rather jog-trotting it was unexceptionable for the time. There’s colour and weight in the slow movement allied to a degree of expressive intonation as well, and strong confident ensemble playing in the finale. Both the Beethoven sonatas receive commanding and authoritative readings Gendron’s refinement in the slow movement which is properly but not effusively full of sentiment d’affetto is a notable feature of the brace of sonata performances, as is the way he varies bow weight. The fugato in the finale is crisply negotiated, with estimable ensemble maintained. Indeed, Madeleine Lipatti plays with assurance throughout the recital.

True, you may hear a little pre-echo on the tapes but once noted the music conquers such small demerits – things like the athletic vigour of the excitingly declaimed finale of Op.69, all of which sonata is splendidly realised. Thereafter Gendron announces the three remaining pieces in this near-70-minute recital. The first is the slow movement from Chopin’s Cello Sonata, softly intoned, the second is Schumann’s Romance, Op.94 No.2 and, to end, Bach’s Ich ruf’ zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ, This last is a quietly moving envoi to a noble and satisfying concert.

There are no notes, as is overwhelmingly the case with this label, but the transfer has been accomplished with great care.

Jonathan Woolf

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