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Reacting to Chopin and Schumann -

'... some moments might well have caused Chopin to block his ears and flee across the Channel ...'

Chopin: Cello Sonata; Schumann: Works for Cello and Piano. Roland Pöntinen, Torleif Thedéen. © 2001 BIS Records AB

Chopin's Cello Sonata was the last work published during his lifetime and his first major chamber piece since the Piano Trio of almost twenty years before. Its composition was slow and arduous. In October 1846 he wrote about it to his family in Warsaw: 'Sometimes I am satisfied with my 'cello sonata, and sometimes not. I throw it aside and then take it up again'. It was dedicated to Auguste Franchomme (misspelt in the liner notes), with whom Chopin spent holidays and entrusted some of his financial affairs. The Sonata was played by them at Chopin's last Paris concert on 16 February 1848. Chopin still had doubts about the work. A member of the audience explained that he had tried out the Sonata 'before some artists and intimate friends; the first movement, the masterpiece, was not understood. It appeared to the hearers obscure, involved by too many ideas, in short, it had no success'. Thus Chopin omitted it when faced by 'so worldly and elegant an audience'.

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Copyright © 17 July 2002 Robert Anderson, London, UK


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