Review: Cellist Louise Dubin’s ‘The Franchomme Project’

Cellist Louise Dubin unearths works by Auguste Franchomme

By Cristina Schreil

Wrapping up her studies at Indiana University, cellist Louise Dubin delved into research on all things Auguste Franchomme, exploring the most complete assemblage of works by the French cellist and composer at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and even meeting his descendents. Listeners now have a chance to crack open a door to times past themselves. The Franchomme Project presents some of these newly discovered works. Many, Dubin says, haven’t been recorded before and offer a rare musical treat.


Dubin has conjured an informative listener’s journey into Franchomme, and the Project seems to sing with this celebration. The album includes works for solo cello and piano (with Andrea Lam and Hélène Jeanney accompanying), for two cellos, and for four cellos, when cellists Julia Bruskin, Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, Katherine Cherbas unite with Dubin in various iterations. The cello quartet works, in particular, and vibrates with robust, beautiful layers of sound.

In the album notes, Dubin champions Franchomme as an innovator. His intimate relationship with Chopin, famously his pal and collaborator, is especially foregrounded here, with five Chopin works included, arranged by Franchomme. In Chopin’s Introduction et polonaise brillante, Franchomme revised the cello part “to make it more brilliant,” Dubin writes, and indeed, her performance unfolds with radiant energy.

While it may seem he competes, Chopin hardly snags the spotlight. Franchomme’s four nocturnes for two cellos are notably mesmerizing and melancholic. In Op. 15. No. 1, performed by Dubin and Thorsteinsdóttir, gentle triplets layer under long, velvety bow strokes. It is so easily likable many may wonder why it’s not more popular, or at the very least recorded more often.

Franchomme Project

The Franchomme Project: Newly Discovered Works by Auguste Franchomme
Louise Dubin