The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Fauré: Berceuse for violin & orchestra (orch. Gaubert), Élégie for cello & orchestra, Violin Concerto, Romance for cello & orchestra, Ballade op.19 for piano & orchestra, Fantaisie for flute & orchestra, Fantaisie for piano & orchestra
Saturday, 01 August 2009
Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabedian (violin) Henri Demarquette (cello) Juliette Hurel (flute) Jérôme Ducros (piano) Orchestre de Bretagne/Moshe Atzmon
Fauré emerges from the drawing room in this interesting collection of concertino works, many better known with piano accompaniments. Although Fauré was not in his element writing for orchestra, the Élégie really gains from his orchestration, from the initial heavy sustained string chords to the expressive wind solos in the central section. Henri Demarquette, a pupil of Gendron and Starker, plays this piece movingly with a beautifully seamless legato, but I found his Romance too restless and lacking in poise, an overdone rubato interrupting its flow. Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabedian, violinist with the Wanderer Trio, enters with poise in the cadenza-like passage near the opening of the early Violin Concerto, his delicate, lithe playing spinning a magical thread of sound. His tone is more strident and carrying in the Berceuse in spite of its con sordino marking. The works for piano and orchestra may be the best pieces here, but the recording quality throughout is good, the soloists always to the fore.
From the August 2009 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.