Can a virtuoso be expected to keep his hands off cherished chamber works because they were not written for his instrument? Should a passionate admirer of Schubert and Brahms really forego on 14 duos because he does not play the violin, the viola, the flute, or the arpeggione?

Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey doesn’t believe so. In his largest phonographic enterprise up to now, he embarks on a series of 6 CDs dedicated to the complete chamber duos by Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms. Teaming up with his trusted piano partner Paolo Giacometti, Wispelwey wants to demonstrate that music written by major Lied composers can rewardingly be played on the violoncello, the string instrument which most resembles the human voice.

On “Phantasie”, the upcoming first installment of the Complete Duo series, Wispelwey confronts late works – Schubert’s sensational Fantasie D. 934 and Brahms’s breathtakingly lyrical Viola Sonata op. 120 nr. 2 – with the ebullient but unusually profound Sonatina D. 409 Schubert wrote as a young man of 19.

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