The Strad Issue: February 2015
Description: Masterly accounts of three Romantic masterpieces
Musicians: Renaud Capuçon (violin) Khatia Buniatishvili (piano)
Composer: Franck, Grieg, Dvorák

This is a strong performance of Franck’s Violin Sonata. The first-movement Allegretto, for all its undoubted poetic sensitivity, is forthright and forward-moving, with firm direction and shape. Khatia Buniatishvili, excellent throughout, sets off the Allegro at a thrilling pace, which Renaud Capuçon matches in dashing, rich-toned playing. His impetus is such that notes occasionally get swallowed, but this is full-throated, passionate stuff. The Recitativo–Fantasia has all the rhythmic freedom and melodic flexibility one would expect, but it nevertheless flows purposefully towards powerful climaxes. The finale has warmth and charm, with Romantic vigour at its heart.

Grieg’s Third Violin Sonata takes off like a thoroughbred, and here again a few notes disappear in the flow, but it’s big-hearted and energetic. The second movement has an engaging touch of the tea room at its centre, and there is some severity in the finale to balance its melodic sumptuousness. After the heady fare of Franck and Grieg, Dvorák’s four Romantic Pieces op.75 are often delightfully delicate. The recording is full and close, though it tends to favour the bass of the piano.