Rachmaninov • Fauré • Franck
The marketing people have plucked a title – Après un rêve – from a piece that lasts for just three of this disc’s 79 minutes. But perhaps dreams are not after all an inappropriate image: two dreams to be precise – the Romantic yearning of Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata and Vocalise, and the fervid, disturbed sleep of the Franck Sonata. Not forgetting the Fauré, decidedly of the former type. Yearning is something Sonia Wieder-Atherton does particularly well: the Rachmaninov Sonata positively drips with it, as befits a piece contemporary with the Second Piano Concerto, whose weepiness many of its aching themes recall. She plays with remarkably fine tuning and tonal production, and with her regular recital partner Imogen Cooper makes an intuitive unity. Only in the final movement, which straggles rather in any case, do they seem briefly to lose momentum. For the rest, the Franck Violin Sonata has a certain portliness when played on the cello – it cannot soar in the same way – and Rachmaninov’s Vocalise could have done with an ounce more tenderness: there is no point stinting such a piece. But the overall impression here is positive – of performances boasting both intelligence and conviction.