Review

Classical disCDigest
1997

Critic

[7] CHOPIN: Sonata in G Minor for Cello and Piano, op. 65.
Grand Duo Concertante for cello and piano, op. 70.
Trio in G Minor for Violin, Cello, and Piano, op. 8.
Dénes Várjon, piano; Gábor Takács-Nagy, violin; Péter Szabó, cello.
HUNGAROTON HCD 31651 DDD 60:11

[7] It is customary for the world to patronize the ensemble music of Frederic Chopin, not altogether culpably. When one compares the large spans of Chopin’s Cello Sonata and Piano Trio to the usually dead-on-target genre pieces of all sizes in his mature piano music, all the chamber music seems dilute and dutiful. It just doesn’t quite make it. There is no trace in the duos and trio of the exact sense of direction, compactness and resilience which has made so much of Chopin’s solo piano music stand out brilliantly from the time it was new.

The players in Hungaroton’s new issue make no bones about exposing Chopin’s chamber music convincingly on its own terms, the Cello Sonata in particular with something of the tonal velvet-lined steel caress which must sustain its outer movements. In all this ensemble work one necessarily keeps one’s ear on the pianist; Dénes Várjon does not disappoint, and cellist Péter Szabó is constantly right on top of his role. This is fine teamwork, in my book to be preferred to the personality-cum-temperament displays expended to no point by a dozen second-rate CD’d duos. In a rare exception to the apparent rule, and the only viable alternative which presents itselv, Rostropovich and Argerich make the sonata go on sheer nervous tension (DG Galleria 419 860), a brute exercise of considerable – if purely morbid – interest.

Qualiton

Péter Szabó cellist, conductor, music editor
Péter Szabó's recordings are available on Amazon.com: