Anne Gastinel & Xavier Phillips // OFFENBACH, “6 cello duos”
The Cours méthodique de duos pour deux violoncelles (Methodical tutor of duos for two cellos) was published between 1839 and 1855, divided into six volumes (opp.49 to 54) of increasing difficulty, from letter A to letter F.
Anne Gastinel and Xavier Phillips have chosen six of them, among the letters C, E and F, for their first recording together.
“These predominantly lighthearted vignettes could hardly wish for more distinguished advocacy than they receive here from Xavier Phillips and Anne Gastinel. It goes almost without saying that, technically speaking, these performances are clean as a whistle, yet what continually seduces the ear is a sense of the combined joy these distinguished musicians share, shaping every phrase with the kind of intuitive insight normally reserved for bona fide masterpieces. The most famous of the series, op.54 no.2 in E major, features a rollicking polonaise that in the wrong hands can (even at a shade under five minutes) seem interminable, but here dances along so infectiously one can hardly keep one’s finger off the repeat button. This is an absolute joy from start from finish, captured in sound where the fine balance between textural clarity and tonal ambience is perfectly judged.”