Daniel Herscovitch (piano); Elizabeth Neville (cello)
Producing a disc of Chopin music is perhaps a radical departure for Wirripang, which unashamedly promotes Australian composition, but it is a very worthwhile departure.
Capturing the remarkable pianistic skills of Daniel Herscovitch in two Piano Sonatas (Op 35 No 2 and Op 58 No 3), as well as his ensemble playing with British-born cellist Elizabeth Neville in the rarely heard Cello and Piano Sonata (Op 65) was a welcome addition to the catalogue. This alone, fills an immense gap in the recording world.
Recorded at the Sydney Conservatorium, where Herscovitch is a lecturer in Piano, the sound is clean and exquisite. The Cello Sonata was totally captivating for its construction and interplay between two demanding parts.
Too often Chopin is considered to be a composer of piano compositions alone, but as Herscovitch cites in his well-written notes, “British pianist and writer Paul Hamburger surmised that he (Chopin) would have undertaken more large-scale chamber music works. One inevitably speculates what Chopin’s further development would have been had he been granted more time”.
As well, the B flat minor Piano Sonata suffered from not being amongst many of the recordings available today. Even the great Arrau and Richter chose never to record this work.
Along with the B flat minor Piano Sonata is the well-known B minor Sonata, both given the dramatic, anxious, sensitive and reflective qualities required for their contrasting sections and moods.
If this recording is anything to go by, there should be more interest and hopefully more performances now of these great works from those who genuinely love the music of Chopin.