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Star cellist Sol Gabetta and the young French pianist Bertrand Chamayou have been giving chamber music recitals together for many years. Now the two artists, who have become close friends in the meantime, have recorded their first CD together. "The Chopin Album" contains two original works that Chopin wrote for cello and piano: the famous Cello Sonata and the Polonaise brillante. Gabetta and Chamayou complete their CD recital with works documenting Chopin's friendship with Auguste-Joseph Franchomme (1808–1884), a highly-respected cellist and composer in his day. Chopin dedicated his Cello Sonata to Franchomme, who in turn arranged the Polish composer's famous Nocturne op. 15 op. 1 as a duet, while the two composers joined forces on the Grand Duo Concertant setting themes from Meyerbeer's opera Robert le Diable. From Franchomme's own pen comes the Nocturne for Cello and Piano in E minor, op. 14 no. 1, on the album.
As a special rarity, Gabetta and Chamayou have included Chopin's well-known Etude op. 25 no. 7 in their recital in a duo version written by Russian composer Alexander Glazunov. "I am also very fond of these transcriptions", says Sol Gabetta. "For me this was an opportunity to immerse myself in a musical world dominated by the piano, a thoroughly unfamiliar experience for a cellist."
It's true that the Romantic composer Chopin is known first and foremost for his piano music. But he also wrote an impressive youthful piece for cello and piano aged only 19, the Polonaise brillante. In 1845 he started work on his Sonata in G minor, op. 65, which is one of the pinnacles of the Romantic cello repertoire. Chopin wrote the four-movement work for Franchomme, whom he had met in the early 1830's in Paris through Franz Liszt. The two musicians immediately became the best of friends, with Franchomme henceforth providing helpful advice to Chopin on matters of playing technique.