Session Report: Two’s company
Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja and cellist Sol Gabetta’s new recording is the culmination of many years of music making and friendship, as the pair tell Charlotte Gardner
Talk about being spoilt. The album Plaisirs illuminés (released earlier this year) from cellist Sol Gabetta and violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja felt on paper almost too good to be true: an equal-footing collaboration between two of the world’s biggest string soloists that included a brand new double concerto for them by young Spanish composer Francisco Coll. It delivered on its promise in spades, as David Kettle’s review in these pages trumpeted (March 2021). Yet it turns out that this wasn’t all they had up their sleeves, because now they’re releasing Sol & Pat, a cornucopia of violin and cello works dating from the Baroque era to the present day.
Sol & Pat, though, was conceived and recorded before Plaisirs illuminés – in the area around Gstaad over the summers of 2017 and 2018. And, in fact, its real starting point is older still, as the players leap to point out when the three of us hook up over Zoom. ‘The thing to understand is that while everybody sees this album as a collaboration between two big artists, for us it began as good friends playing for pleasure at the very beginning of our musical lives,’ emphasises Gabetta. ‘We met in 2003 when we were both in Bern. I was playing with pianist Henri Sigfridsson, we were looking for a violinist to create a trio, and he told me, “You know there is an amazing violinist around here, and probably she’s a little bit crazy, but we could try.”’ Cue laughter from them both. ‘The first time we played together there was such an amazing connection,’ Gabetta continues, ‘and from there we carried on our musical lives together in many aspects. Patricia also created a festival near Bern where we played every winter. A lot of people performed who are now famous, but back then they were just friends, and we played almost everything, from duos to octets. Patricia and I played just about all the repertoire written for cello and violin, practising around 14 hours a day. It was crazy!’…