🎻 An Unusual Duo 🎹

by Pier Paolo Maccarrone cellist 🎻

An unusual duo, the one I propose to see and hear today. On the piano Mistslav Rostropovich, the God of the cello, and on the cello Maurice Gendron, one of the most famous French cellists of the twentieth century. They interpret the third movement of F. Chopin’s cello and piano sonata. It is known, perhaps not at all, that Rostropovich was particularly skilled on the piano and that he often accompanied his wife, the famous soprano Galina Višnevskaja, on the piano. I remember in fact that when he held a concert at the Massimo Vincenzo Bellini Theater in Catania about twenty years ago, Rostropovich left the cello in custody before his concert and the day before he accompanied his wife to the piano in a recital that they both held at the Massimo Theater in Palermo. Good Day and good vision! 🤗

🎧 Listen guide

➡️ https://youtu.be/P7AHZI3oLCc

Sonata in G minor for cello and piano, op. 65 by Fryderyk Chopin (1810 – 1849)

Allegro moderato Scherzo: Allegro con brio (D minor) Largo (B flat major) Final: Allegro

Organic: cello, piano
Composition: 1845 – 1846
First Edition: Brandus, Paris, 1847
Dedication: Auguste Franchomme

“I only wrote for the piano. This is my ground, the one on which I feel most secure “: so Chopin said to the Countess Delfina Potocka, the composer’s affectionate friend who often confided her artistic confessions to her, the one who wanted to see her again, dying, to sing one last time to he. His production covers seventy-four numbered works plus twelve without an opus number. They include the two Concerti con orchestra, op. 11 in E minor and op. 21 in F minor; and again with orchestra: the Variations op. 2 on the duet “Là ci darem la mano” of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”, the concert rondo Krakowiak op. 14 and the Andante spianato and Grande Polacca brilliant op. 22.

In addition, three Sonatas, including op. 35 where the famous “funeral march” appears; four Ballads; sixteen Polish; fifty-nine Mazurke; twenty-six Preludes; twenty one Nocturnes; twenty Waltzes; a Bolero; a Tarantella; a Berceuse; three Écossaises; the Polish-Fantasy op. 61; five Rondo; four jokes; three variations; twenty-seven Studies (the twelve of op. 10, the twelve of op. 25, the three compositions for the great “Méthode des méthodes” by Moscheles and Fétis), the Trio with piano of op. 8 and a few other pieces including the Sonata for cello and piano. In all these works Chopin has poured out the poetry of the “blue flower”, according to Novalis’ definition, which expresses the special disposition of the human heart to feel happy both in sacrifice and in enjoyment, both in dream and in reality; the poetry that gives preference to presage rather than knowledge, the poetry that smiles and sings even in tears.

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If we wanted to briefly summarize the characteristics of the Chopinian piano style, we can say that there are two fundamental aspects present in this composer’s compositions: first of all the so-called “stolen tempo” on which Liszt himself authoritatively intervened, witness of Chopin’s interpretations on own piano music. «All Chopinian compositions – thus Liszt – must be performed with that accentuated and prosodic hesitation, and with that softness, the reason of which is difficult to reveal when there has not been occasion to hear them often. Chopin seemed concerned about making his way of execution evident, especially of communicating it to his compatriots to whom he, more than others, wished to transmit the internal warmth of his emotion ». The other element is given by the inner dynamism from which the Chopinian works derive vitality through the different gradations in the passage from the strong to the piano and vice versa, by contrast or nuance, so as to achieve that psychological and emotional tension of strong romantic expression, even in the changeability of the dynamic accents of the piano language.

The Sonata in G minor for cello and piano is one of the last compositions written by Chopin, as it dates back to 1847 and is dedicated to the cellist Auguste Franchomme, a great friend of the Polish composer with whom he held his last concert in Paris on February 16, 1848. On this occasion three tempos (Scherzo-Largo-Finale) of the Sonata were performed op. 65, also published in a version for violin and piano (the transcription is by Ferdinand David) and in a version for piano only by Moscheles. The Sonata op. 65 is in a certain sense a tribute to an eighteenth-century musical form that sees the piano accompanied by another instrument, almost as if the author, an excellent pianist, wants to highlight a new tonal research. It must be said, however, that Chopin always affirms his piano personality, so much so that in the moderate Allegro of the first half the richness of the writing and the predominance of the piano are very evident and place the part of the cello in a secondary position. The main theme has a clear melodic line and offers the piano the best ideas to assert its dominant role. More balanced in the relationship and in the concerted dialogue between the two instruments are the brilliant Scherzo and the nostalgic and concise Largo, while in the Finale the piano returns to be the protagonist, engaged in vigorous and technically also difficult passages, so as to dispel the rumor that the The disease, which entered an acute phase in 1847, dissuaded Chopin from pursuing high-level pianism. It can be said that this Sonata, rarely included in the concert programs, falls with full rights in the chosen repertoire of chamber music with piano that would have had a wide diffusion in the romantic era, up to Brahms.

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