The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Chopin: Cello Sonata op.65, Piano Trio op.8
Playing that brings out Chopin’s French-inspired style
Thursday, 26 April 2012
Olivier Charlier (violin) Antoine Pierlot (cello) Abdel Rahman El Bacha (piano)
TRANSART LIVE TR 171
This disc brings together three important talents steeped in the French tradition: Olivier Charlier, a professor at the Paris Conservatoire, Antoine Pierlot, a nominee of the 2009 Victoires de la Musique, and Beirut-born Abdel Rahman El Bacha, a former student of Marguerite Long. While Charlier at least claims a connection to the ‘French’ school of string playing, such links are usually to be approached with caution in an age when players employ basically similar aesthetic standpoints. Nonetheless, there is a certain ease of the left hand, an elegance and arguably a degree of tonal lightness that correspond with latter-day assumptions of what playing of that kind might sound like. This is by no means to the detriment of this disc.
Chopin’s well-known Cello Sonata is beautifully voiced, even if there are times when the piano over-dominates the texture, as in the first movement, which is also burdened by a rather pedantically strict observance of dotted rhythms. The Piano Trio has an earthier directness, while the slow movement is well-paced and the finale suitably exciting, the whole disc belying its concert circumstances and yet exuding a communicative energy that can only be created in live performance. Transart Live provides an admirably well-balanced recording.
From the April 2012 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.