The Franchomme Project

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AUGUSTE FRANCHOMME - The Franchomme Project - Louise Dubin (Cello) - 013491346922 - Released: October 2015 - Delos DE3469

Despite the fact that French cellist and composer Auguste Franchomme (1808-1884) still remains relatively unknown and relegated to the sidelines, listening to his music the first time is like slipping into a pair of old, faded blue jeans. It immediately seems familiar and emblematic of his time. His writing style seems to bring together, or superimpose, Italian bel canto opera over Central European romanticism. Almost like coalescing Franz von Suppé's gift for melody with Frédéric Chopin's melancholy. Not surprising when you consider that while Chopin lived in France, he and Franchomme were close friends. Chopin highly esteemed Franchomme's talent as a cellist, so much so that he dedicated his Cello Sonata Op. 65 to Franchomme. Along with his original compositions, some of the works on this CD are two and/or four cello transcriptions by Franchomme of famous pieces by Chopin that come across extremely well. In fact I feel the four cello rendition of the Funeral March from the Piano Sonata No. 2 is more expressive this way, especially when played as well as it is here by cellists Louise Dubin, Katherine Cherbas, Saeunn Thorsteindottir, and Julia Bruskin.

Louise Dubin, who spearheaded this recording project, researched every aspect of this music and has put an enormous amount of care in this production. Her playing is always warmly expressive, with just the right measure of dramatic weight when called for. Because of its facile outer appearance, music like this under less experienced hands could sound banal, but Dubin's playing alone brings it up a notch or two. For people who love cello music, this recording is certainly worth its weight in gold, and even more so for people who love to explore new musical territory.

Jean-Yves Duperron - April 2016