The booklet notes for this audiophile release focus on the fact that much of this "rare chamber music" got to be that way because of Nazi suppression; all of the composers represented except for the Swiss Rudolf Moser ran afoul of the National Socialists, and Ernst Bachrich and Erwin Schulhoff died in concentration camps. This is a useful perspective, for it is only after many decades that the music submerged by the Nazi tide is coming to light. Yet these pieces are rare for another reason as well: the genre of the string duo, popular enough to have occasioned pieces by these quite varied composers, is an interesting but largely vanished one. The details of the composers' biographies are not really audible in the music, but the role string chamber music played in familiarizing audiences with modern styles is very much on display. None of this music was groundbreaking, but all of it was meant to be played by informed amateurs, and all of it elegantly boils new developments down to the duo format. The music ranges from late Romantic in the case of Emánuel Moór (who died before the Nazis came to power but was blacklisted in the infamous Lexikon der Juden in der Musik) to semi-serialist with Bachrich's Duo for violin and cello, but Max Reger, with his solid chromatic counterpoint was probably a stronger model for these composers than the Second Viennese School. The derivation process is especially clear in the case of Schulhoff's Duo, written in imitation of and as an homage to his teacher, Leos Janácek, but the effect of all the music is to give the listener the perspective of a musically informed Jewish household in Vienna in the 1930s. Thus, in several ways it revives a vanished world. The performances never fall into the trap of belaboring the music, and the engineering is superb.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Duo für Violine und Violoncell|
|Divertimento für Violine und Violoncello, Op. 37 No. 1|
|Suite pour Violon et Violoncelle, Op. 109|
|Duo Sonate für Violine und Violoncello, Op. 34 No. 2|
|Duo für Violine und Violoncello|