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BRAHMS // 2 Sonatas for Piano and Cello

Claire Désert, Gary Hoffman,

An unbearable lightness of being. Gary Hoffman, one of the music world’s best-kept secrets, is a fine and uncompromising client. This is a disc to delight Brahmsians. The two contrasting, complementary sonatas here receive vital, deeply musical performances. With Gary Hoffman and pianist Claire Désert, both works surge and sing!


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Brahm’s Sonatas for piano and cello, op.38 and op.99, top chamber pieces, full of multifaceted humanity require from their interpreters as much complementarity as osmosis. We are immediately captivated by Gary Hoffman’s beautiful Amati cello – once played by Leonard Rose – and pianist Claire Desert’s charming touch.

They impose a well-matured balance. Sweetness and passion, melancholy and frenzy, meditation and exaltation which all mix together thanks to spontaneous eloquent inflections. The dialogue’s fantastic aspect between cello and piano gains more and more depth and lyricism throughout the program.

Cello Sonata no.1 in E minor, op.38


  • Allegro non troppo 14’27
  • Allegretto quasi menuetto 5’49
  • Allegro – Più presto 6’26


Cello Sonata no.2 in F major, op.99


  • Allegro vivace 9’19
  • Adagio a ettuoso 6’41
  • Allegro passionato 7’13
  • Allegro molto 4’24


Gary Hoffman

Gary Hoffman’s style is characterised by fullness of sound, instrumental mastery and exceptional artistic sensibility.

He made his debut at the Wigmore Hall in London at the age of fifteen, quickly followed by New York. At the age of twenty-two he became the youngest faculty appointee in the history of the Indiana University School of Music. After winning the Premier Grand Prix of the Rostropovich International Competition in Paris in 1986, he embarked on an international career, appearing with the world’s most noted orchestras, in major recital and chamber music series and at prestigious festivals.

Although he has great affection for the classical cello repertoire, Gary Hoffman does not neglect contemporary music, of which he is a committed champion. Numerous composers, among them Graciane Finzi, Renaud Gagneux, Joel Hoffman, Laurent Petitgirard and Dominique Lemaître, to name only a few, have dedicated their concertos to him.

He is a regular guest with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in NewYork, and is a remarkable and much sought-after chamber partner. He has made recordings for BMG (RCA), Sony, EMI and Le Chant du Monde, and now records on the La Dolce Volta label.

Gary Hoffman has lived in Paris since 1990. He performs on a 1662 Nicolo Amati, the ‘ex- Leonard Rose’.

Claire Désert

Claire Désert seduces her audience with her graceful, profound and humble interpretations. She is in the line-up of important French and international festivals, and she regularly performs with important symphonic orchestras.


She is an exceptional artist and a World-class chamber musician. Her favorite partners are pianist Emmanuel Strosser, cellist Anne Gastinel, violonists Philippe Graffin and Tedi Papavrami, the Quatuor Sine Nomine and the Quintette Moraguès.

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