Halvorsen, Kod‡ly, Tanguy, Schulhoff & Ghys/Servais

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Halvorsen,Kodaly,Schulhoff & Ghys/Servais,Tanguy
LABELS: Virgin
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Face Ë Face
WORKS: Works by Halvorsen, Kodály, Tanguy, Schulhoff & Ghys/Servais
PERFORMER: Renaud Capuçon (violin)Gautier Capuçon (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: 5 45576 2
‘… the pure and troubling timbre of Gautier’s cello ideally exalting a light from on high that can give Renaud’s sound a supernatural halo…,’ says the sickeningly adulatory booklet note. Actually, they’re not bad in an old-fashioned sort of way, with a sweet tone and a willingness to use portamento that sits well on Halvorsen’s Romantic Passacaglia after Handel, where they also show that they can produce the full gamut of sounds and textures that the series of variations demands. I wish that they’d been a bit more sparing with the vibrato in Kodály’s Duo, a masterpiece which is much tougher than it appears here: the opening of the Adagio made me feel quite seasick. They’re at their best when being unashamedly virtuosic, as in the driving outer movements of Eric Tanguy’s Sonata, written for them last year, or the Ghys/Servais Variations on God save the King, an early 19th-century confection with both players rushing around their instruments, double-stops and pizzicati flying all over the place. Schulhoff’s Duo comes off well, too, not only in the rhythmic verve of the ‘Zingaresca’ movement, but also in the more contrapuntal passages, where the balance of the parts is nicely judged. A somewhat mixed bag. Martin Cotton