Belle Époque 1886
Franck: Cello Sonata in A; Godard: Cello Sonata in D minor
Corinne Morris (cello), Petr Limonov (piano)
SOMM Recordings SOMMCD 0626 64:25 mins
Just to note, the pairing of Godard with Franck raised my eyebrows. Sadly, the result confirmed my doubts. If Godard is known at all to musicians these days, it’s through the brief exchange between him and Chabrier, Godard saying ‘What a pity, cher Emmanuel, that you start composing so late!’ and Chabrier retorting ‘What a pity, cher Benjamin, that you started so early!’ A joke, obviously, but one entirely borne out by his Cello Sonata. I won’t waste words on it – it really is dreadful. The question then arises: why record it, and above all why in company with the cello version of the Franck Violin Sonata, one of the glories of French chamber music? Was it just a question of finding two cello sonatas dating from 1886, to justify the title Belle Époque ?
In any case, the performance of the Franck leaves a lot to be desired, especially in the cellist’s tone and tuning high on the A string, while the finale starts just that bit too slowly for it to float as it should. The tempo speeds up eventually, but by that time it’s too late. The recording is rather close.
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