This recording is about connections. All four featured composers lived in Paris during the second half of the 19th century and were linked both professionally and personally.
Franck’s great Sonata is like capturing and portraying a life in sound. The first movement is a languid, delicate introduction, with only hints of the ecstasy yet to come. The second movement, with its restless virtuosic piano writing, speaks of the passion of youth, full of angst and yearning. The third movement, with its question and answer between piano and cello, is more philosophical - a contemplative discourse in which moments of quiet desperation balance moments of celestial beauty. The fourth movement is a mature epilogue, growing in joy and excitement until the glorious, triumphant ending.
The Debussy Sonata is short, with abrupt and daring changes in mood and colour. Ideas appear and morph so quickly from one emotional state to the next that one is left with only fleeting impressions. Chausson’s Piéce is a little gem. It’s an extremely beautiful and wistful late work - one which needs space to breathe and to sing. Fauré’s Papillon, by comparison, is a lightning-fast piece where images seem to appear and disappear - like a mirage.
Winona Zelenka, cello
Winona Zelenka is one of Canada’s finest cellists on the scene today. As a soloist, she has performed concerti with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Mississauga Symphony and the Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra among many others. She is a dedicated recitalist and chamber musician.
Connie Shih, piano
Connie Shih is considered one of Canada’s most outstanding artists. As soloist, she has appeared extensively with orchestras and solo recitals throughout Canada, U.S. and Europe, Japan and China. Connie has given chamber music performances with many world-renowned musicians.