On ‘Connections’, released by the Canadian label Marquis, two outstanding young Canadian musicians, cellist Winona Zelenka and pianist Connie Shih, present a selection of some of the most evocative music in the French repertoire. Their programme includes César Franck’s Sonata in A major, Gabriel Fauré’s Papillon, Claude Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, and Ernest Chausson’s Pièce.
All four composers featured on this CD lived largely in Paris during the second half of the 19th century and all of them had connections with the Paris Conservatoire, either as students and/or teachers. And on a personal level, ‘connections’ also abound.
The Debussy Sonata is short, with abrupt and daring changes in mood and colour. Chausson’s Piéce is an extremely beautiful and wistful late work, whilst Fauré’s Papillon is a lightning-fast piece where images seem to briefly appear and disappear. Cesar Franck’s Sonata in A major, originally written for violin and piano, is one of the most popular works in the chamber music repertoire.
Winona Zelenka received international acclaim in 2010 when her first solo recording – the CD set of Bach Suites for Solo Cello – was released on Marquis Classics (MARQUIS81509). Connie Shih regularly appears with cellist Steven Isserlis and she will accompany him and others in several UK recitals this year.