Five WONDERFUL Stars!! Great introspective and romantic cello/piano duo virtuoso performances. I came upon this CD based on a Natalie Clein 'podcast' that I am subscribed to, where she talks about her career, the music on this CD, and her unique cello. Intrigued by the beautiful music samples during the interview and based on her reputation, I bought it and it is a clear WINNER. The decade long association of classical cellist Clein and pianist Charles Owen clearly shows in each heartfelt empathetic performance. They chose the 19th Century and early 20th Century romanticism of Chopin and Rachmaninov, respectively, for this CD; their only piano and cello compositions. These lyrical performances have musical layers and interactions that yield more enjoyment with each succeeding listen.
My 'Pieces De Resistance', the best of the best, are:
*from Chopin's Sonata for Cello and Piano in G Minor, Op 65: the Scherzo (Allegro Con Brio) with it's beautiful seven note interlude theme, the marvelous alternating cello and piano leads of the Largo, and the Finale (Allegro); and
*from Rachmaninov's 1901 Sonata for Piano and Cello in G Minor, Op. 19 (written for cellist Anatoly Brandukov):
The wonderous Allegro Scherzango with it's dramatic tension very effectively alternating with beautiful florid passages is certainly the high point of the entire CD for me, along with the Lento-Allegro Moderato 'calm to storm' recapitulations.
In addition to the sonatas, Chopin's Polanaise Brilliante in C Major Op 3 and Rachmaninov's awesomely lyrical Vocalise, Op 34, No 14 are wonderfully performed. Great cello/piano virtuoso performances. Bravo, Natalie and Charles! Highly Recommended. Five Stars!!