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Track(s) taken from CDA67529

Ballade in D minor, Op 3 No 1

composer

Steven Isserlis (cello), Stephen Hough (piano)
Recording details: May 2005
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Produced by Philip Traugott
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: November 2005
Total duration: 4 minutes 58 seconds

Cover artwork: The Wave (1917) by Christopher Richard Wayne Nevinson (1889-1946)
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund, USA / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
1

Reviews

'deeply considered, immensely satisfying accounts. Isserlis and Hough make a formidable team and I look forward to more duo sonatas' (Gramophone)

'[Isserlis's] current recording with Hough displaces all others: at last two musicians have taken this work and delivered a spontaneous stream of musical dialectic that makes perfect sense' (BBC Music Magazine)

'there is no doubting the sweep and passion, or the tenderness and intimacy, of their performance. These two outstanding musicians give an equally fine account of the earlier E minor sonata. In both works, and in some pleasing miniatures by Dvorak and Suk, they interact with the combined sensitivity and freedom of true chamber-music players' (The Sunday Times)

'Isserlis and Hough are perfectly matched here, offering poetic, tender and generous spirited music-making. Both have a distinctive luminescence of tone, enabling them to place emphasis on beauty, intimacy and phrasing that really speaks' (Classic FM Magazine)

'You won't find a finer or more intelligent partnership than Steven Isserlis and Stephen Hough to play these mainstays of the cello repertory, nor perhaps a more imaginative or generous supporting programme. This is Brahms at its best' (The Strad)

'an evocative performance by Isserlis and his partner Stephen Hough, which marries effusive warmth and inward eloquence' (The Evening Standard)

'One of the most happily balanced chamber music discs I have auditioned in some time, this partnership between Steven Isserlis and Stephen Hough, provides some thoroughly idiomatic Brahms sonatas, played with alternate tenderness and fury, as each piece requires. Hough's piano part proves as ravishing as Isserlis' commanding cello; and in a medium in which competition abounds … that is saying something. The Adagio affetuoso of the F Major Sonata may warrant your attentions at repeated hearings…this disc, while not specifically designated SACD, packs a resonance and liquid punch competitive with the finest sound imaging. Ravishing playing from the first notes, these collaborations testify to a meeting of kindred spirits on all levels. The liner notes by Isserlis capture the tenor of the pieces with a propriety bordering on veneration' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'Mr Isserlis molds his sound with a heartbreaking delicacy. You've never heard a cellist dare to take the lyrical opening of the first sonata so quietly, or inflect it so subtly. This player can also cut loose and raise the roof when it's needed. You can't pussyfoot through a movement in Brahms, and Mr Isserlis doesn't try' (The Dallas Morning News)
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