This is the 15th recording on Naïve by one of the label’s best selling artists, the renowned French cellist Anne Gastinel. On this new CD she is accompanied by her regular piano musical partner Claire Désert in three essential works of the French chamber repertoire, César Franck’s much loved Sonata in A major in the popular transcription for cello and piano, and Sonatas by Debussy and Poulenc.
The first volume of this series (Naxos 8.550761) mixed the first two sonatas of Field's Op. 1 with the first nine Nocturnes. The Sonata Op. 1 No. 3 in C minor logically appears on this second volume, in a most successful performance. Dedicated to Clementi, the first movement shows distinct tendencies towards 'Sturm und Drang'. Neither movement is fast: the concluding Rondo (marked Allegretto scherzando) is bursting with wit and charm to balance the stress of the first. This piece alone justifies the modest outlay for this disc. The remaining tracks, the next nine Nocturnes in the series, demonstrate Frith's sensitivity. Importantly, he shows a laudable restraint with the sustaining pedal. His sweet cantabile is the result of an acute musical sensitivity, and he never overblows the scale of these miniatures.
Period-instrument performances of Beethoven's violin sonatas aren't too common; they pose thorny problems of balance even beyond the question of whether Beethoven wouldn't have preferred modern instruments if he could have had them. But this superbly musical set by violinist Midori Seiler, playing an Italian Baroque violin of unknown manufacture, and fortepianist Jos van Immerseel, on a copy of an entirely appropriate Viennese Walter piano, may well redefine the standard for these works.
This recording contains Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Third Piano Concerto "Gift of Dreams" (1998), featuring Vladimir Ashkenazy as soloist and conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Ashkenazy commissioned this work as a concerto which he could conduct while playing the solo part. Having performed the world première, he here delivers the concerto’s first recording.