Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Danses sacrées et profanes (1904) [9’52].
Syrinx (1913) [2’56].
Première Sonate pour Violoncelle et Piano (1915) [10’20].
Deuxième Sonate pour Flûte, Alto et Harpe (1915) [18’40].
Troisième Sonate pour Violon et Piano (1917) [13’45].
Fabrice Pierre (harp); Ensemble Orchestral La Follia; Jean-Louis Beaumadier (flute); Jérôme Pernoo (cello); Elisabeth Rigollet (piano); Pierre-Henri Xuereb (viola); Annick Roussin (violin).
Rec. 1997. DDD
CALLIOPE CAL9837 [56’48]
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Here is a disc that, extremely usefully, unites Debussy’s three late sonatas (masterpieces all) with the serene, otherworldly Syrinx and the lovely Danses sacrées et profanes. Although the playing time is ‘only’ 56’48, there is plenty to intrigue and captivate the listener, and also plenty of challenges: late Debussy does not reveal its secrets easily.

In some ways, the Danses sacrées et profanes is a very charming, but not strictly necessary item. It was composed back in 1904, nearly a decade before anything else on the disc. This performance, given by Fabrice Pierre and the Ensemble La Follia (presumably a scratch band assembled for the purposes of this recording) is, actually, the weakest part of the disc. The recording is too close, but even in this performance the stately, lush textures of the Danse sacrée are preserved. The booklet notes provide no clues or background as to the genesis of this piece, as they concentrate solely on the three sonatas (thereby omitting Syrinx, also). This carelessness of presentation does not, however, extend to the standard of performance. Jean-Louis Beaumadier is an excellent flautist, as his eloquent and atmospheric account of Syrinx proclaims (Track 3). This is a beautifully toned performance that contrasts well with the preceding Danses.

It is, however, the three late Sonatas that provide the meat of this release. Cellist Jérôme Pernoo is a very sensitive interpreter, possessed of a dark and lustrous low register. The pizzicati of the ‘Sérénade’ are playful but not flippant, and so remain within the prevailing Debussian remit; however, it is the finale that really takes off (Track 6). The piano sound, unfortunately, becomes tinny anywhere above the middle register.

Jean-Louis Beaumadier reaffirms his credentials in the Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp. The first movement (‘Pastorale’) exudes peace and elegance (Track 7), while the finale is suitably dynamic.

Neither does Annick Roussin disappoint in the Violin Sonata. This is impassioned violin playing. The second movement is marked ‘fantasque et léger’ and Roussin’s delicacy is entirely in this spirit. Roussin and the ever-sensitive pianist Elisabeth Rigollet provide a finale which, in its agility and sheer life-affirming spirit, seems an ideal way to end the disc.

It is a shame, then, that there are some caveats which preclude a fuller recommendation of this product.

Colin Clarke

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Danses sacree et profane - Danse sacree

Danses sacree et profane - Danse profane


Sonata No. 1 - Prologue

Sonata No. 1 - Serenade

Sonata No. 1 - Finale

Sonata No. 2 for Flute, Viola and Harp:

Interlude (tempo di minuetto)


Sonata No. 3 - Allegro vivo

Sonata No. 3 - Intermede (fantasque et leger)

Sonata No. 3 - Finale (tres anime)

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