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Classical - Released September 23, 2011 | ECM New Series

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Classical - Released April 20, 2018 | ECM New Series

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Around the immense landmark which is Franck's Sonata for Violin and Piano, the Duo Gazzana has chosen to present less well-known works – so little-known in fact, that Ligeti's Duo here is a discographic world first! The album opens with Ravel's "posthumous" sonata, written in 1897, but only published forty years after his death. A contemporary piece to the Pavane for a Dead Princess, it possesses a grace reminiscent of Debussy, or Fauré. There is no virtuosity here, but rather an intimacy that seems to provide a bridge between the younger Ravel and the Ravel of later maturity. After Franck's Sonata, which needs no introduction – but which is very much worth a listen in the hands of the gifted Natascia and Raffaella, disciples of Bruno Canino, Ruggiero Ricci, Yehudi Menuhin and Pierre Amoyal – there is a rare pearl from Ligeti, the Duo of 1946 in which Bartók's influence remains in the foreground, with its Magyar and Romany elements. The album closes with another youthful work, Messiaen's Theme and Variations, written in 1932 as a wedding gift to his first wife. The final, contemplative variation seems to open up its voice in the final notes of Quartet for the End of Time. In it, we hear the harmonies and the ranges that the composer loved, but his little birds haven't hatched yet. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released April 4, 2014 | ECM New Series

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Classical - Released April 20, 2018 | ECM New Series

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Classical - Released March 23, 2018 | ECM New Series

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Classical - Released April 4, 2014 | ECM New Series

None of the five works on this album could be called well known, even though they follow for the most part in a line suggested by Verdi (whose words, "Turn to the past, and that will be progress," provide an epigraph for the booklet notes) and running through Stravinsky. It is to be hoped that the day of self-serving modernism is through and that these pieces, all of them fascinating, will be heard more often. Except for Poulenc's Violin Sonata of 1943 (revised in 1949), which, beautifully wrought though it may be, doesn't quite fit the program, all the music draws on Baroque models, and each piece does so in a different way, and none quite follows Stravinsky's neo-classicism either. Most of the music remains within conventional tonal boundaries, but it is rather more challenging than reassuring. Schnittke's Suite im alten Stil draws its Baroque movement structures out into tense dilemmas that dissolve at their ends, while Valentin Silvestrov's Hommage à J.S.B. breaks Bachian figures (and some direct quotations) into their constituent atoms. The Toccata for violin and piano of William Walton, a criminally neglected work, borrows the spirit of the young Bach's toccatas and their brilliant improvisational spirit, and it is beautifully paired with Luigi Dallapiccola's Tartiniana seconda: Divertimento for violino e pianoforte, which elegantly fuses contrapuntal artifice -- violin virtuosity that lives up to the work's namesake -- and intricate modifications of Baroque tonal language. It's all a real tour de force, and Italy's Duo Gazzana, ably assisted by ECM's engineering team in a Swiss studio, provides the intense focus needed for this music, which proceeds in small details. A wonderful release from ECM. © TiVo