This is a companion to Warner's other Dukas budget
disc (0927 48725 2) containing the Symphony, La Péri and
l'Apprenti Sorcier. Hubeau is a strong player but the impressions
gained from hearing this disc (toiling in dark realms or threadbare
imagination) made me wonder. Margaret Fingerhut on Chandos makes a better
job of the Sonata though Hubeau's graciousness shines through in the
second movement. The Sonata is a rather serious demonstrative work.
To make it go with utmost success there needs to be a balance between
power and fantasy. Of power Hubeau has no lack but the realms of the
spirit are seemingly not his natural habitat. The work was dedicated
This is followed by the Brahmsian heroics of the Variations
on a theme of Rameau. These sound rather heavy-handed and antique
in a contrived way. Much better is the Prélude Elégiaque
which is full of subtle impressionistic delight complete with swirling
references to Debussy that do not appear in the Sonata or the Rameau
piece. The Prélude was written as a commissioned tribute
to Haydn as were like pieces by Debussy, Ravel, Widor and d'Indy. Similarly
subtle is La Plainte, a homage to Debussy, alongside other tributes
from Malipiero, Satie, Ravel, Bartók, Stravinsky and de Falla.
There are clear cross-references with Prélude a l'après-midi
The Sonata is a robust piece of great tensile strength.
Hubeau is not ideal in it. On the other hand he is subtle and imaginative
in La Plainte and the Prélude. A fascinating
disc overall and inexpensive.