Recorded on 01/12/2011, uploaded on 01/12/2011
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Chopin’s last major composition was not primarily for his instrument. Instead, it was a sonata for the cello, the only other instrument for which he composed a substantial amount of music. Also his only sonata for another instrument and among his few compositions not exclusively for the piano, the Cello Sonata in G minor, op. 65 was composed for his close friend, Auguste Franchomme, an accomplished French cellist. Chopin spent an unusual amount of time on the piece, working on it throughout 1845-46, going through extensive stages of sketching and drafting before settling on the final version. Likely, the addition of the solo cello part and the necessity of scaling back his own inherent pianism to achieve a proper balance between soloist and accompaniment was a significant challenge for the composer. The piece premiered in Paris in 1847 with Franchomme accompanied by Chopin himself. It was Chopin’s last public appearance as a pianist.
The first movement shows Chopin as a master of the sonata form despite his proclivity for simpler ternary designs. Immense in both scale and depth, the movement is wrought with a pervasive feeling of despair, at times becoming quite passionate. Both soloist and accompanist play near equal roles throughout. Even when the melodic line is dominated by the cello, the piano remains active in its accompaniment, raising it to the level of an equal partner. The great care which Chopin took in crafting the piece is here evident in the collaboration of both instruments.
The following Scherzo movement in D minor is similar in expression to the preceding Allegro. Offsetting the tempestuous Scherzo is a Trio in D major of exquisite beauty and lyricism. Here, more than at any other point in the sonata, the soloists sings out with the piano resigned to a gentle, rolling accompaniment. Following the Scherzo is a brief slow movement in B-flat major. Structured as a duet between the two instruments, each takes turn stating a phrase of the melody beginning with the cello while the other provides the accompaniment. Nearly the entire movement passes by quietly until the cello brings about the movement’s climax towards the end and carries the melody through to the final measure. Lastly, the impetuous finale, with its abundance of hemiolas, is energetic and forms an effective conclusion to the piece. In the coda, G minor gives way to its parallel major, though not without ample coloring from the minor, and the music is swept briskly on to its end. Joseph DuBose
We at classicalconnect.com believe that classical music is a necessity of life. It is our pleasure to be your virtual concert hall and bring you this performance.
Copyright 2008-2010 Classical Connect, LLC