Debussy's Fantasy is underplayed

These cello sonatas are approached with too much politeness.

Composer: Debussy, Franck, Poulenc
Repertoire: Cello Sonatas
Artist: Anne Gastinel, Claire Désert
Rating: 3/5

Genre: Chamber

Label: Naïve V5259

The Music: Three cello sonatas from the Franco-Belgian tradition that find Franck’s Wagnerian opulence morphing into the sleek neo-classical lines of Debussy and Poulenc.

The Performance: The surging lyricism, impassioned climaxes and superheated sensuality of Franck’s Cello Sonata cry
 out for full interpretative immersion, and here Anne Gastinel and Claire Désert sound just a shade too polite on occasion. Their fastidious attention to detail sits more comfortably with the cleaner textural and structural outlines of Debussy and Poulenc, although even here the former’s sense of fantasy and the latter’s playful anachronisms feel slightly underplayed.

The Verdict: Highly articulate, sensitively shaped and technically mellifluous performances from two outstanding musicians, which on this occasion only catch fire intermittently.

Want More? Try Gastinel’s coupling of Rachmaninov and Strauss with Pierre- Laurent Aimard (Naïve, V 4692).