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Chopin and Mendelssohn

Mendelssohn Variations concertantes in D Op. 17 Rondo Capriccioso in E Op. 14 Cello Sonata No. 2 in D Op. 58

Chopin Introduction et polonaise brillante in C Op. 3 Nocturne in C minor Op. 48 No. 1 Cello Sonata in G minor Op. 65

Sergei Istomin & Viviana Sofronitsky - Cello and Fortepianos - McNulty copies of Pleyel(1831) and Graf (c.1819)

Wigmore Hall, London July 22 2012

Another fine recital with Viviana Sofronitski at the Wigmore Hall (q.v. her spectacular debut there!) partnered this time by a good cellist who is a specialist HIP musician who uses gut strings on his instrument.

As last year, only a small audience once again; historical instruments and performance remain minority interests, especially for the 'regulars' at Wigmore Hall, which doesn't yet own one fortepiano of its own...

The designated blocks of critics seats at the back were empty once again; Musical Pointers had been invited by the artists.

To hear the music live made for an interesting and thoroughly rewarding evening - we have already enjoyed and reviewed their CDs of each composer. With the two large 19C pianos filling the stage, the contrasts were fascinating.

The darker hued Pleyel [R] used for Chopin was the more spectacular, and although it was louder than the Graf used for Mendelssohn [above] Chopin's scoring for the cello allowed for excellent balance in the hall, the whole thing having an intimacy which gave an idea of how the music might have been in the salons of the time.

All the performances were predictably excellent and communicated to the audience with mounting enthusiasm.

As most of our readers will not have been there, I can but recommend their CDs of this repertoire, more often to be heard from virtuoso cellists of today with Steinway pianos.

Peter Grahaame Woolf

See five fortepianos at Wigmore Hall, 2011