Phoenix Story

Patricia Kelly
The Courier Mail (Australia)
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Soviet-born Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin provides an intriguing counter balance to two super-Romantic pieces with her Phoenix Story, the title piece of this disc.

The two movements began life as separate entities, but bringing them together here adds an interesting dimension to the two. It is an inspired touch that gives the two cellists, Australian-born twins Pei-Jee Ng and Pei-Sian Ng, opportunity to explore the expressive depths of their instruments while melding Kats-Chernin's images into a harmonious mix of Oriental and Western tones in a realm that knows no artificial barriers.

It is a perfect foil, as intended, for the lyricism of Chopin's last published work Cello Sonata in G Minor, which Pei-Jee Ng and pianist David Tong, from Macao and Australian since 1988, weave with poignant detail and Cello Sonata in G Minor of Rachmaninov played by Pei-Sian Ng.

Tong accompanies and shares the structural weighting in equal measure with the soloists in each work. There are majestic sweeps in the dual style of the Rachmaninov and in the pensive andante the piano's insistent voice urges the cello forward.

The three artists are still in their mid-20s yet play with virtuosic insights.