Contemplazione Alfredo Catalani
An all-Gallic approach to Fauré .
Repertoire: Complete Chamber Music for Strings and Piano
Artist: Renaud Capuçon, Gérard Caussé, Gautier Capuçon, Michel Dalberto, Nicholas Angelich, Quatuor Ebène
Label: Virgin Classics 070 8752
The Music: Fauré’s chamber music runs the complete marathon of his emotional range, which is immense and involves a personal voice that seems deeper and richer every time you hear it.
The Performance: This all-French celebrity team approach Fauré with the seriousness of purpose he deserves. They power the music from within, strongly delineating the rhythms, balancing their roles with stylish naturalness. Certain tempos are slightly deliberate – the First Piano Quartet’s finale, for instance – but the interpretations convince, whether through Renaud’s supremely suave, elegant tone or the unity and closeness of the ensemble. Crowning glories include an incandescent account of the late Cello Sonata No.2 from Gautier with Angelich, the Ebène Quartet’s empathetic performance of the elusive String Quartet and the knife-edge tenderness of the group in the Piano Quartet No.2’s memories of distant bells.
The Verdict: Fabulous Fauré playing, with all the intelligence, strength of character and profound understanding that his still underrated chamber music requires.