I originally bought this fabulous CD to replace my vinyl version of the Ravel Introduction & Allegro (for harp, flute, clarinet, & string quartet). I was absolutely astonished at the phenomenal performance of the Franck and Debussy Sonatas by Kyung Wha Chung and Radu Lupu.
The Ravel is a seriously underrated miniature masterpiece. It is in fact a very sensual impressionist work, very cleverly written. The overwhelming impression is almost climactic in its passion and yet so perfectly beautiful... I don't understand why it isn't more widely known. This performance with Ossian Ellis and the Melos Ensemble is indeed exceptional, perhaps it doesn't sound so fair otherwise?
César Franck's sonata was dedicated to the Belgian vioinist virtuoso Ysaÿe, who bequeathed us a handful of wonderful old recordings from the early 1900s. The sonata is innovative in its recurring themes across the movements, and has an intimate quality never really captured by the recordings I have heard from Russian violinists. Kyung Wha Chung and Radu Lupu are sublimely gifted and underrated musicians, who capture the essence with astonishing beauty and some passion, playing in perfect partnership. Both are oustanding virtuosi who deny that epithet, preferring to be more modestly remembered for the musicianly qualities of their music making. Well, that's OK with me, but I just wish their refreshingly uncynical talents were more widely appreciated. They play the Debussy Sonata excellently. The Sonata for flute, viola, and harp is lovely.
This CD should be in all music collections, each piece is 5 gold stars and the disc is a bargain at three times the price.