Handel’s Water Music? Beethoven’s 5th? Judas Maccabeus? Familiar strains from these masterworks appear on this delightful new disc by baroque cellists Phoebe Carrai and Tanya Tomkins, but the music itself is by the little-known 19th-century German cellist and composer Friederich August Kummer, who adds his personal stamp to these highly entertaining duets whilst paying homage to the baroque and classical masters. In his day, Kummer was a renowned performer and pedagogue who was principal cellist of the Dresden Opera. Close friends and musical collaborators included Franz Schubert and Felix Mendelssohn. He was the first professor of cello at the Dresden Conservatoire when it opened in 1856. His cello duets are by turns witty and poignant, switching seamlessly between melody and accompaniment, creating the illusion of a much larger ensemble and achieving an amazing variety of styles.
Kummer’s music comes to resounding life in the hands of two titans of the period-instrument world, Phoebe Carrai and Tanya Tomkins. Coming to life is, indeed, the raison d’etre behind this recording project, which was made in honour of their good friend Aenor Sawyer whose recovery from cancer was miraculously aided by hearing this music performed at her bedside. Proceeds from this release go to the charity We Duet 4 Kids, to aid research and support finding a cure for children’s cancer. It’s also Aenor’s wish that many like her can experience the healing powers of this music.