Literature for violin and cello duo is sparse to be sure, but what repertoire there is can be quite rewarding and entertaining. Kodály's Op. 7 masterpiece is arguably the pinnacle work for violin and cello duo, with its broad scope, engaging Hungarian melodies and rhythm, and masterful part-writing. Also well-known is the Handel/Halvorsen Passacaglia from the Suite No. 7 in G minor, a crowd-pleasing tour de force in technical prowess for both instruments. Glière's Op. 39 Eight Duos offers an assortment of shorter miniatures ranging from the playful to the tender. In addition to these familiar works, this Oehms Classics album includes the world-premiere recording of the Duo in G major, Op. 12, of Giovanni Battista Cirri. A cellist of some repute, Cirri's writing distributes the playing duties with remarkable evenness for the time period, giving both instruments an array of charming melodies and nimble passagework. Performing here is the duo Eight Strings, made up violinist Valeria Nasushkina and cellist Mikael Samsonov. Their time playing together is immediately noticeable in their impeccably tight ensemble playing, well-blended sound, precisely matched intonation, and unified musical vision. Eight Strings plays with passion and spaciousness in Kodály, with gusto in the Handel/Halvorsen, sentimentality in Glière, and clean Classical lyricism in the Cirri. A well-rounded duo, listeners will be left wishing there was more literature for this talented team to perform.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7|
|Duo, Op. 12 in G major|
|Eight Duos for Violin and Cello, Op. 39|