Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms: Cello Sonatas-No 1

Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms: Cello Sonatas-No 1

Article excerpt

Brahms

Cello Sonatas--No 1, Op 38; No 2, Op 99.

Six Hungarian Dances

Jean-Guihen Queyras vc Alexandre Tharaud pf

Erato (F) 9029 57239-3 (72' * DDD)

The late Joan Chissell, reviewing Jacquehne du Pre and Daniel Barenboim's recording of the two Brahms sonatas (EMI, 12/68), said she felt tom in half. 'On the one hand their playing is quite extraordinarily expressive and beautiful. On the other, it is self-indulgent enough in rhythm and tempo to be un-Brahmsian.' Chissell softened over the years, enthusing over Claude Starck and Christoph Eschenbach's 'seductive yieldings' (Claves, 4/91), and I believe she would have praised these new interpretations by Jean-Guihen Queyras and Alexandre Tharaud, too, for displaying a similar balance of 'malleability' and 'continuity of line'.

The sense of ease with which Queyras and Tharaud play with tempo is particularly impressive, in fact. They can be quite elastic, slowing down significantly for the coda of the E minor Sonata's first movement, for example, to give the music a poignant, crepuscular effect. This is managed with utter naturalness, so it not only makes sense but sounds right. In the first movement of the F major Sonata, they quite subtly bend and shape the rhythms, heightening the feeling of passionate yearning--listen, for instance, to the sense of improvisatory freedom beginning at 1'02". …

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