FERVENT FAURÉ ON THE FIDDLE
Not just one wonderful disc of Fauré violin and piano music but two!
Alban Beikircher and Roy Howat have just released the complete Fauré violin and piano music on the Arte Nova label. Alban is the leader of the Arion Quartet and director of the Tonkunst Bad Saulgau music festival. Roy is a highly respected scholar and pianist, remarkably combining two fields of musical activities that British educational establishments used to do their utmost to keep separate! This joyous disc, played with energy, sincerity, respect and beauty, includes both violin sonatas and the short pieces, closing with the rarely heard Air de danse from 'Caligula' in Roy's own arrangement.
ARTE NOVA/BMG CLASSICS 74321 92763 2
Gil Shaham's first CD on his own label, Canary Classics, is called The Fauré Album: with pianist Akira Eguchi and cellist Brinton Smith, Gil plays a wide range of Fauré's finest, including the A major Sonata, the Piano Trio, the short violin and piano pieces and superb transcriptions of several songs. Sound and packaging alike are beautifully produced by Eric Wen, formerly founder of the Biddulph Records historical label. This isn't Fauré the way we usually think of him - not French, self-contained and subtle, but highly expressive and overflowing with heart and soul. But it's so beautiful that I don't think Fauré would mind! Programme notes by yours truly.
CANARY CLASSICS/ARTEMIS ATM 1239
Catch Gil playing the Barber Concerto with the Philharmonia at the Festival Hall, Sunday 7 March.
Krystian Zimerman's new disc of the Rachmaninov First and Second Piano Concertos burns the spots off most competitors. As you probably know, Krystian never does anything by halves and as he told me in our interview that accompanies this recording, 'You don't play the Rachmaninov concertos, you live them'. Forget cool, classical restraint: it's hard to imagine more emotional and romantic playing than this.
With the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Seiji Ozawa.
Deutsche Grammophon DG 459 643-2