Alkan and Chopin Cello Sonatas
Alban Gerhardt - cello
Steven Osborne - piano
Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888)
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Hyperion Records CDA67624 | 62'56
[Steven Osborne's playing in the Alkan is] exciting and sharply contoured in the fast movements, highlighting wonderfully the odd, corrosive rhythms, but his delicacy and sense of shading bring out the odd harmonies of the second movement and the pearly, teardrop quality of the third-movement accompaniment with grace and delicacy.... [Alban Gerhardt] truly understands the lyrical qualities and harmonic complexities of [the Chopin sonata]. Steven Osborne is simply astounding.... This is an outstanding disc.
Thank heavens for Steven Osborne, a pianist who, while never stinting on the music's sheer virtuosity, lets the cello shine as an equal participant through control of articulation and dynamics. Happily he has a partner worthy of the spotlight in Alban Gerhardt. As that insane closing saltarello shows, he can play incisively, at high volume, without letting his tone turn dry and rough. Both players are models of elegance and sensitivity in the gorgeous Adagio third movement. In short, if you don't know this magnificent work, this is the version you'll want as your introduction.
— Classics Today
In the more familiar Chopin, there is a palpable sense of a single, combined mind at work. Osborne's Chopin playing proves to be every bit as focused as his Messiaen or Tippett, and he and Gerhardt respond superlatively to the music's sensitivity and power.
— Daily Telegraph
Alban Gerhardt and Steven Osborne play both works as equals, finding the right touch for the naivete and daring of the Alkan, where they make light of the technical challenges, which is saying a lot. And, similarly, in the Chopin they are as attentive to matters of conversational balance and grace as to the heavy thrust of the climaxes.
— Irish Times
Alban Gerhardt and Steven Osborne rise to the challenge with ease, giving us a real sense of Alkan's character while dispatching the more familiar Chopin with aplomb.
Alkan - Cello Sonata in E major
Finale alla Saltarella: Prestissimo
Chopin - Cello Sonata in G minor
Scherzo: Allegro con brio