Sonatas for violoncello and piano (2002)

Franck, Schumann, Brahms

Pieter Wispelwey, Paolo Giacometti

However successful, overwhelming and moving the other movements of the two sonatas on this CD may be, here I will restrict myself to the two opening movements which are indisputably hors catgorie, as the French say. Of course its all very hard to put into words, but Ill try to explain how I see them. If I would acclaim their originality, genius and complete mastery or praise their combination of beauty, perfection and wealth of psychology and emotion, most people would agree with that, be it with indifference and right they are. Confronted with such creations all description is doomed to stuttering and stumbling, every compliment will remain a pityful molehill compared to the mountain which is the object of our admiration.

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Pieter Wispelwey

Pieter was born in Haarlem in the Netherlands in 1962 and grew up with his two younger brothers in Santpoort, where his parents still live. At the age of 19 he moved to Amsterdam and has remained in the same 17th century house on the Noordermarkt ever since. Pieter's diverse musical personality is rooted in the training he received-firstly from regular exposure from a very early age to his father's amateur string quartet when they rehearsed at the Wispelwey home, to lessons with Dicky Boeke and Anner Bylsma in Amsterdam followed by studies with Paul Katz in the USA and William Pleeth in the UK. It was also Dicky Boeke who encouraged him to listen to as much music as possible but particularly sowed the seeds for his love of Renaissance music (Italian and English madrigalists!) and German Lied. These genres, particularly the performances of Dietrich Fischer Diskau, have been a constant source of inspiration for Pieter. In 1990 his first recording with Channel Classics, The Bach Cello Suites, was released to great acclaim and in 1992 he was the first cellist ever to receive the Netherlands Music Prize, which is endowed upon the most promising young musician in the Netherlands; thus his path was secured to the busy and varied career he has today.

Pieter has always been at home on the modern cello with metal and/or gut strings as he is on the baroque 4 string and 5 string cello. Therefore he covers a repertoire from JS Bach to Elliott Carter drawing on a palett of sounds and colours available from his range of instruments, string set-ups and bows. Having grown up in an age and country where hearing period instruments was very much the norm for concert-goers, Pieter naturally developed his conviction that, in the right conditions, much 18th and 19th century music sounds far better on gut strings than on metal. However he is not a purist in the sense that if conditions are less than ideal (no fortepiano, too big a hall, too hot, too humid, too dry acoustically etc.) then he is more than happy to pick up his modern cello with metal strings (which therefor is quite often the case).

Recitals have always played a major part in Pieter's concert diary. As a recitalist with piano, he has all the main repertoire at his disposal which is always ready for performance, often at very short notice. He is not, and has never been, the type of soloist who tours the world with one or two recital programmes and a couple of concertos per season. On the contrary, a typical week in Pieter's life (if one can be said to exist) could well include the Bach suites, with perhaps 2 different recital programmes, a couple of concerto appearances with a student masterclass thrown in for good measure! He has appeared as recitalist all over the world including the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Wigmore Hall (London), Chatelet (Paris), Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires) and Sydney Opera House. Future exciting engagements include Bach and Britten suites at the Lincoln Centre, New York and a return visit to the Edinburgh Festival.

Pieter has appeared with a variety of orchestras and ensembles both with and without conductors. Notable projects without conductors have been the touring and recording of the Schumann and Shostakovich cello concertos with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. This orchestra has, without doubt, provided for Pieter the happiest and most satisfying musical collaborations of his career to date, not least due to the genius of leader and musical director, Richard Tognetti. He has also appeared, with conductor, with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC symphony orchestra, the Russian National Symphony, Camerata Academica Salzburg, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen to name but a few and has recorded with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. Future engagements with orchestras include the Halle, the Japan Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Herbert Blomstedt and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Marc Minkowsky.

Paolo Giacometti

Paolo Giacometti performs all over the world as a soloist and as a chamber musician, both on period and on modern instruments. He was born in Milan, Italy in 1970, but has been living in the Netherlands from his early childhood. He studied with Jan Wijn at the Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam, where he graduated with the highest distinction. Also Gyorgy Sebök was an important source of inspiration and had a significant influence on his musical education. Paolo Giacometti has won many prizes at both national and international competitions. He has played with renowned orchestras under distinguished conductors such as Frans Brüggen, Kenneth Montgomery, Laurent Petitgirard, Michael Tilkin and Jaap van Zweden. Apart from his activities as a soloist, Paolo Giacometti’s love for chamber music has resulted in a successful co-operation with leading musicians such as Pieter Wispelwey, Gordon Nikolich, Alois Brandhofer, Janine Jansen, Bart Schneemann and Viktoria Mullova. Paolo Giacometti is a much sought-after musician at chamber music festivals in Europe, Canada and the United States. He has performed in concert halls all over the world including the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), Wigmore Hall (London), Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris) and Seoul Arts Centre (South Korea). Paolo Giacometti records exclusively for Channel Classics. His impressive discography has been widely acclaimed by the international press. His recordings include Rossini’s complete piano works, a remarkable project that started in 1998 and was completed in 2007. In Rossini’s homeland critics say: "... Rossini has finally found his pianist ...". For the third recording of this series Giacometti was distinguished with the Edison Classical Music Award 2001. His recording of Schumann’s Humoreske, Fantasiestücke and Toccata has received the BBC Music Magazine’s Benchmark and Performance of Outstanding Quality distinctions. His recording of the Dvorák and Schumann piano concertos have been acclaimed by Gramophone as "... one of the best concerto disks I have heard in a long while ...".  Among Paolo Giacometti’s chamber music recordings, a recording with works by Schubert with cellist Pieter Wispelwey has received the Choc du Monde de la Musique and Luister 10 awards, while another recording with works by Chopin, Fauré and Poulenc, also with Pieter Wispelwey, has been awarded the Diapason d’or.  Paolo Giacometti is also a dedicated piano professor at the Robert Schumann Musikhochschule Düsseldorf.

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Sonatas for violoncello and piano (2002)

Franck, Schumann, Brahms

Pieter Wispelwey, Paolo Giacometti


De subliem uitgewerkte frases kregen een elasticiteit die weliswaar als vrijheid overkwam, maar werd beteugeld door een zorgvuldig vastgehouden tempo () () Wispelwey en Giacometti gaven de kale, naakte muziek een grote dwingende spanningsboog waarin de hartenklop van de piano in de hoogste regionen versteende tot een ijzige kilte en uiteindelijk weer tot leven wer gewekt.


de vitaliteit en de spontaniteit die Wispelwey als cellist tekenen, bleek niet aan slijtage onderhevig () Wispelwey suggereert hele verhalen met zijn beeldendefraseringen () () Giacometti vulde de klaterende pianopartij in met sterk en stuwend spel en ook in Wispelweys handen klonk deze bewerking als een sonore en zonder meer meeslepende variant van het origineel (C. Franck)

    Klassieke Zaken

Schumanns Adagio und Allegro opus 70 is een juweel () () Het is niet alleen de muziek die klopt, het is ook muziek die mede dankzij de musici meesleept en doet vergeten dat er nog zoiets bestaat als ademhalen.


de helderheid in de pianopartij en de lichtheid en de retorische kwaliteiten in het gevoelige bogenwerk van Wispelwey bevrijden de muziek uit haar verstikkende overvloed aan noten en akkoorden. Geen tranendal krijgen we hier, maar een integer intimistisch discours () () Musicieerschap van een zeldzaan hoog niveau () Focus Knack Cellist Pieter Wispelwey en pianist Paolo Giacometti zijn aan het uitgroeien tot het koningskoppel van de Nederlandse kamermuziek. Een brutaal koningskoppel, zoveel is zeker, dat een groot musicaal instinct paart aan het vermogen naar elkaar te mogen luisteren, samen te ademenn, en al die andere eigenschappen die van samenspel gezegend samenspel maken. Wispelwey en Giacometti spelen de stukken zeer fraai, menselijk en diep.

    Sound & Vision

This extremely subtle fine-channel mix.

    BBC Music Magazine

Persuasive Pieter Wispelwey, a musician possessed of such a formidable emotional range and beguilingly rich tone. ... Paolo Giacometti proves himself an ideal duo partner, unobtrusively inventive and neither diffident nor over-assertive.

    Sydney Morning Herald

Both players share a vision that favours clarity of phrasing, strict adherence to the composers articulation marks and individuality. () () Fascinating approach of Wispelwey, bringing clarity of thought to a work where wallowing sometimes takes over, beautifully recorded cello sound from a true individual.

Sonatas for violoncello and piano (2002)

Franck, Schumann, Brahms

Pieter Wispelwey, Paolo Giacometti

Cables: van den Hul T3 series
Digital Converters: DCS A/D DSD / DCS DA
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment: B&W 803 diamond series
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom design
Producer: Jared Sacks
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: Doopgsgezinde Kerk, Deventer, The Netherlands. Spring 2001
Recording Software: Pyramix bij Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64
Speakers: Audiolab, Holland

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18602: Sonatas for violoncello and piano
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Sonata in A Major - Allegro ben moderato
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Sonata in A Major - Allegro
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Sonata in A Major - Recitativo-Fantasia
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Adiago und Allegro, Opus 70
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Sonata in D Major, Opus 78 - Vivace ma non troppo
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Sonata in D Major, Opus 80 - Allegro molto moderato
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