Forgotten Romance: works by Grieg, Rubinstein and Liszt Steven Isserlis (cello), Stephen Hough (piano) (RCA 09026 68290 2)

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The Independent Culture
Forgotten romance? Forgotten style, more like. The one thing you are unlikely to forget about this performance of Liszt's Romance oubliee is the manner of the delivery, the sound as it relates to the expression. Isserlis and Hough are 19th-century spirits in a 20th-century age, no doubt about it: it's the charisma of the sound, the generosity of the phrasing, the sheer range of colours and rubatos. And temperament.

Their unashamed grandstanding in the finale of Rubinstein's Sonata No 1 is something you'll go back on, just to make sure your ears weren't deceiving you. And the Grieg Sonata - all fire and fjords - what a joy it is when played with this level of affection and sophistication. Just to hear Hough's limpid touch as the impulsive first subject melts into the reflective second or, most thrilling of all, the majestic maestoso in the finale, both players throwing the moment wide open in a positively orchestral gesture of showmanship. But then comes more Liszt, mystical, meditative Liszt, and all that showmanship turns in on itself. A wonderful disc.

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