A Family Affair
Dvořák: Bagatelles, Op. 47; Rusalka – Song of the Moon; Korngold: Die tote Stadt – Mariettas Lied; Suite, Op. 23
Raphaelle Moreau, David Moreau (violin), Edgar Moreau (cello), Jérémie Moreau (piano)
Erato 9029524112 65:23 mins
This release highlights the capacity of extraordinarily gifted musical families to perform chamber music with a level of instinctive precision that is rarely matched even by long-standing professional groups. We already know from Edgar Moreau’s previous discs what a superbly talented cellist he is in his own right, and these qualities are admirably demonstrated here in highly expressive accounts of the famous ‘Song to the Moon’ from Dvořák’s Rusalka and Mariettas’s Lied from Korngold’s Die tote Stadt.
But Edgar also shows an ability to tame his strong musical personality and work in perfect accord with other members of his family. In this respect, the performances of the Dvořák Bagatelles and the technically far more challenging Suite for Piano Left Hand, two violins and cello, which Korngold composed for Paul Wittgenstein in 1930, are immaculately delivered with much fine attention to detail, and the dryish recording admirably communicates the intimacy of the music making.
The downside is that some emotional characteristics in both works remain understated. Admittedly, the Dvořák might have benefited from being performed in its more intimate original instrumentation with a harmonium replacing the more blandly scored piano alternative. But setting this issue aside, the technical fluency of the playing can’t really compensate for a lack of charm, elegance and exhilaration in this interpretation. The Korngold on the other hand is engaging, particularly in the musically austere Präludium und Fuge and the heartfelt Lied. At the same time, I missed an essential ingredient of Viennese nostalgia in the haunting Waltz, and the ensuing Groteske movement could be far more unhinged to make a really powerful impact.