Pierné • Loeffler • Duruflé

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Durufle; Loeffler; Pierne
LABELS: ASV
ALBUM TITLE: Pierné • Loeffler • Duruflé
WORKS: Sonata da camera
PERFORMER: Conchord; William Dazeley (baritone)
CATALOGUE NO: CD DCA 1139

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The star of this disc by the enterprising young group Conchord could be viola-player Douglas Paterson, who is in every piece but one (the sleeve mistakenly substitutes him with a cello in the Duruflé) and avenges all those cruel viola jokes with some excellent playing. His finest moment is possibly Loeffler’s Five Songs for voice, viola and piano, in which he negotiates fiendish double-stopping and other pitfalls with consummate deftness. William Dazeley joins the ensemble here, and distinguishes his contribution with flawless control and a sonorous richness in his interpretation of texts by Verlaine and Baudelaire. More Loeffler comes in the shape of his Two Rhapsodies for oboe, viola and piano. The Second Rhapsody’s overworked eastern-tinged arabesques provide the only longueurs on the disc, but are more than compensated for by Emily Pailthorpe’s clear, open and communicative oboe tone, a model of unaffected responsiveness. High standards are maintained in Duruflé’s Prélude, récitatif et variations (much romantic longing) and Pierné’s charming Sonata da camera, a surprisingly fresh and optimistic product of the composer’s seventh decade. The ensemble clicks perfectly, the playing seemingly effortless and a regard for precision never stifling the musicians’ natural feeling for life and breath. All very enjoyable.

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Christopher Wood