Magnard: Cello Sonata in A; Sonata for Piano Trio in F

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COMPOSERS: Magnard
LABELS: Auvidis Valois
WORKS: Cello Sonata in A; Sonata for Piano Trio in F
PERFORMER: Régis Pasquier (violin), Xavier Phillips (cello), Hüseyin Sermet (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: V 4807
Albéric Magnard was an artist out of his time. Shunning the Impressionism and Symbolism which dominated the thinking of his contemporaries, he favoured instead a refined directness of expression closer in style, though not technique, to the Classical aesthetic practised a century earlier. Nevertheless, one generation’s reactionary is often the next generation’s visionary, and the small body of Magnard’s surviving works (the composer was burnt to death in his home by the invading German army in 1914) influenced Koechlin and members of Les six. Although it is doubtful that the melancholy and essentially sober Magnard would have been flattered by such a legacy, the intensity and individuality of his music suggest that his contribution to the French tradition has been too readily overlooked.

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The works presented here convey the crystalline essence of Magnard, with Beethovenian unity underlining the construction of both works, to the extent that the Cello Sonata grows out of the merest murmur of an idea. The performers are committed advocates, matching the composer’s intensity almost throughout. The recording quality is less reliable. Christopher Dingle