More French Pieces
01 July 2016
David's Review Corner
David DentonNine of the most popular French cello works
from composers born in the midpart of the 19th century with Debussy’s Cello Sonata taking it into a new musical world. They are played in fresh and immaculate performances from the Danish-based duo, Henrik Dam Thomsen and Ulrich Stærk, and I can never recall on disc an account of the Debussy sonata imbued with such sadness in the opening movement, is central Serenade beginning to smile as it leads to the ‘Anime’ finale. With intonation of such utter perfection, and drawing such beautiful sounds from a Francesco Ruggeri cello of 1680, I would not hesitate in describing this the most desirable account on disc. From herein we move to the infectious charms of Faure’s Elegie, shaped with much affection, and then onto a series of musical bonbons made more interesting by the many serene and quite passages where the printed dynamic indications are scrupulously observed. Bitter-sweet in Faure’s Berceuse and the two Romances by Saint-Saens; with joy and fun in Faure’s Papillon; the two salon pieces by Louis Vierne - the least known of the disc’s works - embraced in long flowing passages. The balance between instruments, as the melodic material swings from one instrument to the other, is perfectly gauged, the sound engineer capturing every nuance in music that is often quiet. The piano sound is as good as you will find, and in this field of music the disc is a rare gem not to be missed.