The Fischer Duo, made up of cellist Norman Fischer and pianist Jeanne Kierman, offers listeners an enjoyable set of pieces from two composers primarily known for their piano works much more than chamber music compositions. The cello had a special place for both Chopin and Liszt as is evident by their beautiful treatment of the instrument. Both Fischer and Kierman provide wonderfully musical performances full of long, sweeping lines; intimate interplay; and unified interpretive ideas. Fischer's sound is quite enjoyable, but it is sometimes obscured behind the piano. While his intonation is usually quite solid, double stops (as in the fourth movement of the Chopin sonata, for example) are a little troublesome.
The Chopin sonata, which was the last piece he composed before his death, is a true gift to the cello literature. The writing between the two instruments is remarkably equal, and both the cello and piano are allowed to show off their virtuosity. Still, the piece never gives the impression of being a "show piece." That distinction is saved for the Grand Duo Concertant and the Polonaise Brillante, which are primarily virtuoso works favoring the cello. The Liszt works on this album are not what may be initially thought of when considering the Hungarian composer. They are not ostentatious at all, but rather are quite introspective, unassuming, and serene.