Franck, Fauré, Ysaye, Chausson, Chaminade & Debussy

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Chaminade & Debussy,Chausson,Faure,Franck,Ysaye
LABELS: RCA Red Seal
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Nos Souvenirs
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Laurent Korcia (violin); Jean-Marc Luisada (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 87762 2

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This is a rather strange recital, beautifully delivered though it is by two French musicians of the first rank. It contains a pair of substantial masterpieces, Fauré’s First Violin Sonata and Franck’s only Violin Sonata (both in A). Hurrah for that. But they are interspersed with irrelevant trifles. In the soupy category there’s Ysaÿe’s Rêve d’enfant and Chausson’s Nos souvenirs. In the virtuosic (and rather camp) category there’s Chaminade’s Sérénade espagnole, arranged by Kreisler. To make matters worse, the Ysaÿe leads into the Fauré without pause. However, Laurent Korcia gives a muscular reading of the Fauré, proving himself a strong, forthright, confident player, yet also one with a warm, glowing sound and, as the slow movement proves, much heart and sensitivity. The scherzo, a helter-skelter of light-fingered and light-bowed brilliance, is scintillating. Jean-Marc Luisada, too reticent in the Ysaÿe, blooms. And Franck’s timeless masterpiece, with that wonderfully harmonically elliptical opening, comes across as just that in a performance of unhurried, tensile strength. Gorgeous though it is, the closing piece, Debussy’s song ‘Beau soir’ (in Heifetz’s arrangement), breaks the atmosphere prematurely, so the best advice I can offer is to have the remote handy.

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Stephen Pettitt