Peter Bruns

Charles-Marie Widor, Louis Vierne: Cello Sonatas

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Choosing the music of Charles-Marie Widor and Louis Vierne may seem a curious decision for a first volume of French Works for Cello and Piano. After all, Widor (César Franck's successor as director of the Paris Conservatoire) and Vierne (one of Widor's star protégés) might not even be names that came up for most listeners when trying to consider just which French composers did write for cello and piano: Debussy, Franck, Fauré, and Saint-Saëns to list but a few of the more familiar names. Widor (who wrote both a suite and a sonata) and Vierne (who wrote one sonata) were both able-bodied composers, highly regarded in their day. Their works for cello and sonata have not panned out to be cornerstones of the repertoire, however, and a performance of these works would need to be extremely powerful to warrant their inclusion on Vol. 1. That is precisely what cellist Peter Bruns and pianist Annegret Kuttner pull off. Their playing is entirely captivating and by the end of the album, one may wonder why these works are not performed more frequently. Bruns is both passionate and refined, with a rich German sound that adds real body and depth to these French compositions. The most stunning aspect of the duo's playing is in the delicacy and tenderness of their slow passages, particularly the outer movements of Widor's suite. Their almost breathless, whispering playing is sure to keep listeners on the edge of their seats, and keep everyone waiting with great anticipation for the release of Vol. 2.

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