WORKS: Violin Sonata No. 1 in A; Violin Sonata No. 2 in E minor; Berceuse, Op. 16; Romance in B flat, Op. 28; Andante in B flat, Op. 75
PERFORMER: Dong-Suk Kang (violin); Pascal Devoyon (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.550906 DDD
Either musicians are passionately committed to Fauré’s idiom of deceptive calm and seething undercurrents, or they leave it alone. That’s probably why there are so many good recordings of his violin sonatas. Following Pierre Amoyal and Pascal Rogé’s superb Decca CD of all his music for violin and piano comes this near-complete sequel – it misses only a tiny test-piece for students. It misses little in performance too.
Devoyon sets and maintains a steady tempo, but he is particularly good at bringing Fauré’s even accompaniments to life with minute perturbations that never amount to a distracting rubato. Over this, Kang draws a Classical, singing line, with sweet tone and plenty of dynamic range. They never quite make the First Sonata’s Scherzo strike sparks, but the finale is unexpectedly dramatic and the playing has so much fluent warmth that the overall effect is completely captivating.
In the Second Sonata, Amoyal and Rogé have more of an edge. Kang and Devoyon are hardly bland, but they set out in a more conventionally introverted, less dramatic manner, the music’s restlessness pained rather than fierce, at least until the finale, where they once again respond more forthrightly to Fauré’s often weird harmonic changes. Robert Maycock