Intimate, Yearning And Spiritually Uplifting!,
This review is from: Faure: Chamber Music, Vol. 1 (Audio CD)
Any definition of chamber music as "intimate" music is strengthened by reference to Faure. His chamber works are thoroughly candid, and never introverted. The inner landscape often conveys levels of grandeur and generosity that suggests a yearning for some spiritual dimension.
"For me, then essence of art, and especially of music, is its power to elevate us high as possible above the mundane." (Faure)
The Violin Sonata No.1 op.15 dates from 1875. The rare collaboration of Jean-Phillipe Collard, Augustin Dumay, Frederic Lodeon and Michel Debost is magnificant! Those listening, will never cease to be entirely captivated by the sensual beauty and magical poetic eloquence that is created by this chamber group, a group that is truly on form, imaginatively innate and responsive to the paradox and wonder of each and every "special" moment. The performance is given a robust, solidly stated reading. The levels of intensity are filled with tonal lustre and the understanding of style and sound is astonishing. The free treatment of tonality in the Scherzo is most daring for its time, and the artistic maturity heard in the Andante and the rhythmic vigor of the Finale gives an ardent lift to the surges of drama and "nobilmente" lyricism. By the age of thirty, Faure had completely mastered his art.
The Violin Sonata No.2 Op.108, and the two cello sonatas performed on this disc, demonstrate Faure's development towards a style of Classical assuredness, and an entirely blemish-free ensemble and note-perfect accuracy, palpable in their shared joy of music making. In the Piano Trio Op.120, a rare degree of subtlety in the balance of these three instruments is displayed along with imaginative and characterful forethought that is tastefully relishing.
The various other pieces for violin, cello or flute and piano, are infused with poetic charm, imagination and tempered virtuosity.
The Berceuse Op.16, and the Serenade Op.98 are played with tempi that are slightly more relaxed, but with no loss of cohesion. The playing contains a great deal of expressive ground and an appealing fusion of melodic line. The tension is not high but quietly compelling. Together they produce a memorably resourceful, varied and involving performance.
In the famous Elegie Op.24, one of the most solemn and dignified works of inspiration in all Faure's chamber music, the playing conveys immaculate touch, subtle ranges of colour, and as a pair draw every ounce of poetry from the composition. The sound that is created throughout these performances is absolutely life-like, and as a result one feels that they are being touched by the energy and passion of playing that is heartfelt and approachable. The twinkling warmth of this music is extremely engaging and filled with affection.
Overall, the playing is coloured and inflected with inner-felt distinction, exquisitely rounded and glowing sonorities, and elegantly tapered phrasing and virtuosity combine to make this a memorable musical experience. "This CD (set) is my most cherished of Faure's chamber music."
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Author: Raymond Vacchino M.Mus. A.Mus. L.R.S.M. Licentiate (hon.)