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David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2011

Three names long forgotten and now gathered together in the second volume of ‘Pupils of Chopin’. During his lifetime Karol Mikuli’s name was best known as the person responsible for producing finished copies of Chopin’s music, having featured among his favourite pupils. For a relatively brief period he enjoyed success as a concert pianist, but at the age of thirty-nine decided to spend his time teaching. His output as a composer was small, but would show a style that came as the result of many influences, including Schubert and Chopin. Maybe there is a lack of memorable material in the Grand Duo, but it is a soundly structured score, the finale having a strength of character. The Norwegian-born Thomas Tellefsen followed a similar career, though he was more readily received in Paris as a composer. There is Beethoven in the background of his First Sonata, completed in 1856, the second coming ten years later by which time his style embraced Mendelssohn. With a first movement almost as long as the following two, it is a highly attractive score. Carl Filtsch lived little more than fourteen years, the young boy brought to Chopin to study and was almost treated like his son. If the Allegretto con variazioni is no more than a little work of a highly gifted child, the piano part would show his obvious virtuosity at the keyboard. Neither Mikuli nor Tellefsen write intuitively for violin, Voytek Proniewicz showing the intonation pitfalls that violinists will find. All three are more gifted in keyboard writing, Alexander Jakobidze-Gitman, very happy in his role. Reliable sound engineering.

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