Faure: Violin Sonata No. 1; Violin Sonata No. 2; Berceuse, Op. 16; Romance, Op. 28; Andante, Op. 75; Morceau de lecture

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COMPOSERS: Faure
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
ALBUM TITLE: Faure: Violin Sonata No. 1; Violin Sonata No. 2; Berceuse, Op. 16; Romance, Op. 28; Andante, Op. 75; Morceau de lecture
WORKS: Violin Sonata No. 1; Violin Sonata No. 2; Berceuse, Op. 16; Romance, Op. 28; Andante, Op. 75; Morceau de lecture
PERFORMER: Isabelle Faust (violin); Florent Boffard (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: HMC 901741

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Harmonia Mundi’s booklet note writer recalls an almost forgotten age of gallantry by revealing the year of birth of male pianist Florent Boffard but not violinist Isabelle Faust. More important than her exact age is that Faust is still young and open enough to be responding and developing. On the evidence of this disc of Fauré violin and piano works, she has acquired a fuller and rounder tone since recording the Schumann violin sonatas a couple of years ago, one less prone to strain and a suggestion of astringency at moments of pressure. The bulk of the disc consists of the two sonatas, standing 40 years apart in Fauré’s composing career and showing a marked stylistic contrast. The First owes a clear debt to earlier 19th-century models, and receives from Faust and Boffard an exemplary flowing performance. The more complex Second Sonata is where Faust reveals her growing mastery. The dense argument of the opening movement is rendered with a clarity that never lacks an emotional charge, while in the deceptively naive-sounding Andante both players chart the complex ebb and flow of passion and bring into focus what in lesser hands could sound diffuse. Altogether an impressive disc.

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Christopher Wood