Fauré: Cello Sonata No. 1; Cello Sonata No. 2

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COMPOSERS: Faure
LABELS: Meridian
ALBUM TITLE: Fauré: Cello Sonata No. 1; Cello Sonata No. 2
WORKS: Cello Sonata No. 1; Cello Sonata No. 2
PERFORMER: Tânia Lisboa (cello), Maria de la Pau Tortelier (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDE 84348

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The way a duo chooses to open Fauré’s First Cello Sonata, with its impertinent, jittery fanfares, says much about its attitude to the composer. For Lisboa and de la Pau Tortelier, it is a rapid patter of hushed dialogue, flowering into delicate lyricism. But there is a problem of balance: for this refined approach to work, there must be mystery, and here the piano playing is too firm and the cello sound too thin, too recessed. When the cello takes over the pulsing bass ostinato, it becomes a husky shadow and the wonderful modal chords on the piano, which should be melting, dominate. Tempi are well chosen, the Second Sonata is suitably breezy, and there are touching performances of Après un rêve and the Sicilienne. But for readings of these pieces that combine subtlety with real sensuality, try Steven Isserlis and Pascal Devoyon on BMG.

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Helen Wallace