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Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Trois Romances sans paroles (1863) [6:30]
Valse Caprice No. 1 (1882) [8:07]
Nocturne No. 1 in E flat minor, Op. 33/1 (1875) [7:04]
Barcarolle No. 1 in A minor, Op. 26 (1881) [5:04]
Nocturne No. 6 in D flat major, Op. 63 (1894) [9:05]
Barcarolle No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 70 (1894) [7:40]
Barcarolle No. 6 in D minor, Op. 90 (1896) [3:48]
Thème et Variations, Op. 73 (1896) [16:18]
Nocturne No. 8 in D flat major, Op. 84 (1902) [3:01]
Nocturne No. 13 in B minor, Op. 119 (1922) [7:43]
Paul Crossley (piano)
recorded at the Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, 1983-7: original CRD recordings remastered for Regis by Paul Arden-Taylor
REGIS RRC 1187 [75:25]

 

This CD is basically a sampler drawn from Paul Crossley's complete Regis set of the Fauré piano music on CRD CRD5006. With a good cross-section of pieces, more or less chronologically sequenced, it's been intelligently chosen, and forms an admirable single-disc introduction to some very attractive repertory. From the early Mendelssohnian Trois Romances sans paroles to the more austere and elusive pieces of his old age - and including his very last piece - we're offered a near-complete picture of the composer's stylistic development. Not just the shorter pieces either: Regis have included the substantial Thème et Variations (a piece frequently compared with Schumann's Études Symphoniques) which must count among Fauré's most ambitious and large-scale creations. The notes in the CD booklet are nicely written, and informative, but individual numbers are poorly identified, with neither keys nor opus numbers included.

Paul Crossley's no household name, but I'm not aware of anything he's committed to disc which is less than excellent. His musical judgement and emotional range are completely sound, and his technique wholly sufficient. If that sounds like faint praise, it's not intended to be. I've often argued that, with complete collections especially, it's important for recording artists to capture the full range of a composer's thinking, but with neither understatement nor overstatement, so that what we hear is both involving and objective. That may sound like an ideal which can't possibly be realised, but I suggest that that is exactly what we have here.

The Regis catalogue isn't as well known as it might be. In my experience, they're not often stocked (certainly not routinely stocked) by either High Street retailers or Classical CD specialists, and are more easily obtained over the internet. A pity, because there are good things to be found there, and all at throw-away prices. I'm willing to bet that every other person who buys this disc will end up ordering the complete 5-CD set from which it comes. And some, on finding Crossley's playing and the CRD recordings as satisfying as I have, will probably go one step further and order the complete Ravel collection too which is vevery bit as good! (selection on Regis RRC1179 [not received for review], complete on CRD 3383 , CRD 3384 )

Peter J Lawson



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