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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - Raff: Complete Works for Cello & Piano
Artist - Christoph Croisé / Oxana Shevchenko

For those unaware, the beautiful, lyrical music of prolific 19th-century Swiss composer Joachim Raff was widely performed during his lifetime but is relatively under-represented today.

So who better than Christoph Croisé, Raff’s modern day compatriot, to breathe new life into the composer’s complete works for cello and piano.

Raff’s chamber music, and especially his works for cello, were among his most notable achievements. Having established a career in Germany in the mid-1850’s, Raff encountered the eminent cellist Bernhard Cossman whose mastery of the instrument inspired the composer’s rich Romantic oeuvre.

Together with pianist Oxana Shevchenko, here on the just released Raff: Complete Works for Cello & Piano (out now via AVIE Records), Christoph, who has “got it all – technical chops, impeccable musicianship” (Gramophone), puts a fresh, 21st-century spin on Raff’s memorable music resulting in this benchmark recording.

Duo for piano and cello, Op. 59
1. Andantino – Allegro appassionato (16:19)

Fantasie-stücke for cello and piano, Op. 86
2. No. 1. Begegnung (7:20)
3. No. 2. Erinnerung (8:10)

Romances for horn (or cello) and piano, Op. 182
4. No. 1 Romance in F (5:10)
5. No. 2 Romance in B-flat (5:12)

Sonata for piano and cello in D, Op. 183
6. I. Allegro (12:34)
7. II. Vivace (2:52)
8. III. Andante (5:47)
9. IV. Allegro (8:55)

Total Duration: 72:22

Opening on the near 17 minute orchestrated yearn of Duo for piano and cello, Op. 59 and backing that up with the two-part Fantasie-stücke for cello and piano, Op. 86 (the first a dulcet affair, the second a sheer blanket of gossamer), next up are the duo of pieces within Romances for horn (or cello) and piano, Op. 182 (the first a stellar, concentrated work of art, the second a more playful ode to the former, and one that Shevchenko soon sparks into life).

Indeed, and with the internationally recognized pianist Oxana Shevchenko alongside him, her outstanding artistry, sensibility, and versatility on show at all times, Croisé then brings us the final works, the quartet that makes up Sonata for piano and cello in D, Op. 183: the first is a sprightly, near 13 minute Allegro, the second a short, but sweet, gently fervent Vivace, the third a quietly aching Andante, the fourth a softly euphoric Allegro.

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