Duo Staemmler / Hansjacob Staemmler / Peter-Philipp Staemmler

Works for Cello and Piano by Beethoven, Miaskovsky, Lutoslawski, Strauss

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Duo Staemmler, formed by brothers Peter-Philipp Staemmler (cello) and Hans Jacob Staemmler (piano), were the 2009 winners of the German Music Competition. The young duo was gifted with not only a monetary prize, but also a busy concert schedule, and a debut album on the Genuin Primavera label. For its premiere album, the brothers have chosen a program of perennial favorites along with less frequently performed works from the repertoire. Bookending the program is the Beethoven Op. 102/2, Sonata in D major and the Strauss F major Sonata, Op. 6. Here, Peter-Philipp and Hans Jacob make clear that they are capable -- both musically and technically -- of competing with older, established artists and some of the finer recordings available of both works. What's especially pleasing is the clean, unsullied respect for the score that mars so many other recordings of the works. Peter-Philipp and Hans Jacob clearly play with their own voice and ideas, but not at the expense of what's printed on the page. Where the duo really shines is where fewer comparisons can be made, specifically in the Myaskovsky Sonata No. 1. This underappreciated, deeply passionate sonata fits perfectly with the brothers' youthful energy and powerful tone. Peter-Philipp, who plays on a magnificent Vuillaume cello, produces an intensely rich, focused sound across the instrument's range. The impeccable balance and seamless interplay with Hans Jacob make for one of the most memorable performances of this sonata in memory. The remaining work on the program is Lutoslawski's Grave-Metamorphoses, in which the duo clearly proves its wide-ranging talent and ability to address the stylistic challenges of a broad repertoire. This disc is absolutely recommended, and the Duo Staemmler will be one to continue to watch.

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