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Continuing on from their 2013 traversal of the Beethoven cello sonatas, and entering a huge field, the Duo Leonore offers tender, expressive accounts of Brahms’ radiant masterworks; if you are looking for big characters in this music, you might be better heading to Rostropovich and Serkin (DG). Just occasionally, Duo Leonore feels studio-bound and careful. The script here is surely to point up the beauty of Brahms’ music, and so it is that the central Allegretto quasi Menuetto of the first sonata trips along lightly, but the finale of that sadly piece fails to take off. The recording quality itself is excellent, its close focus capturing Weber’s ‘Suggia’ Stradivarius cello well.

The much later second sonata’s dramatic opening has some emotional power, yet again it is not fully involving; the expansiveness of the score is not fully honoured. For a finer modern performance with generous couplings, Isserlis/Hough (Hyperion) offer a better alternative all round.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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