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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
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.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2011
These are truly great recordings of some very fine pieces - don't be put off by the elderly date as Decca clearly made a fine job of the original recording and the remastering is faultless. It well deserves its Penguin Rosette and I would recommend it to anyone keen on Franck, Debussy or Ravel. The whole experience is of a very fine and intimate recital. Buy this and treasure it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2010
A collection of French chamber music from the early part of the 20th century. All are masterpieces that figure regularly in the concert repertoire. The performers all have international reputations and deliver performances of vigour and freshness. The recording quality is fine. The disc would be worth buying for the Cesar Franck sonata alone - to have the other works included is a huge bonus and they all fit very comfortably together. Wonderful value.
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on 28 May 2015
Kyung Wha Chung may not be at home in all repertoires, but this Franck Sonata with Radu Lupu is brilliant and I never tire of listening to it. I have not heard a better rendering than this, highly charged with emotion yet not overbearing, having lightness too. Chung's vibrato, phrasing, mood variation and dynamics are masterful. Moreover, this sonata composition is as much for piano as it is for violin, and at the piano Lupu is likewise supreme. Chung has brought music to millions, notably out East. For the Franck, you cannot do better than this recording. The Debussy and Ravel are also worth discovering.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2013
I love the Ravel, and have done since I first heard it on the BBC as the theme music for a dramatisation of the Easter story about 50 years ago! An excellent recording which I practically wore out playing many times in a few days!
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on 4 June 2015
Okay. Not as good as interpretation as I was expecting. A little lacking in warmth and sonority for me. Mind you the recording is now quite old.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2014
Great!
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2011
There's a lot of safe lollipop music out there - this isn't it. You gotta be a grownup for this stuff - thanks BBC3 for playing it and reminding me how good it is.
As Marlene Dietrich said "It's Twoo, It's twoo."
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