Schubert sonatas

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Piano solo and duet
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett



Henri DALLIER (1849-1934)
Piano Trio in C minor (1898) [26:10]
Louis VIERNE (1870-1937)

Cello Sonata in B minor op. 27 (1910) [23:14]
Joseph-Ermend BONNAL (1880-1944)

Violin Sonata (1899-1907) [17:39]
Detroit Chamber Trio (Eduard Perrone (piano); Velda Kelly (violin); Nadine Deleury (cello))
rec. Award Audio, Studio A, St Clair Shores, MI, 21-22 Nov 2002 (Vierne); 14-15 Oct 2004 (Dallier); 23 Nov 2004 (Bonnal). DDD
AWARD AUDIO AA-05001 [67:20]

The Dallier Piano Trio surges with a densely emotional Franckian warmth which is offset in transparency by the playful Scherzo. Even so it is not long before Dallier has his players driving up the temperature again into the torrid realms of Rachmaninov, York Bowen and early Fauré.

Much of Louis Vierne's chamber music has been recorded by the French company Timpani. As far as I can recall the Cello Sonata was not included in that series. It is played here with a fine sense of perfervid emotion. This is territory similar to the cello sonata by Rachmaninov and the sonata by the much underestimated Manchester-born composer John Foulds. The last two of the three movements are packed with original touches. It is a commonplace, but it is difficult to see why such an eloquent work - with a superb dénouement by the way - has not been taken up by more cellists. The sonata was dedicated to Pablo Casals and premiered in 1912 by Ferdinand Pollain and Marguerite Long.

I have been carrying a torch for Bonnal's music since I reviewed his two string quartets on Pierre Verany back in 2001 review. Kelly and Perrone again throw caution to the winds in this fervently romantic work written by a 20 year old composer. Of the three works this has the most impressionistic air. The buoyant sound is refreshing after the other two forced hothouse plants. The music develops a Baxian tension in a wonderfully theatrical conclusion to the first movement Assez vite. That connection continues in a touching movement of singing Celtic outline recalling the Bax Piano Quintet. The finale is by no means what Bonnal necessarily intended - he appears never to have completed the work. Fr Perrone however offers up a related movement to provide a symmetrical conclusion. In fact it works quite well and while it is a shade too short it is by no means a scherzo without valedictory substance. It is somewhat after the model of early Fauré but with a touch of Russian Gopak about it.

The recorded ambience is warm - a shade too warm in the Trio where the milling and eddying emotional flow is so intense. Nevertheless the gloriously resonant decay at the close of its first movement is undeniably impressive.

Intonation and ensemble are excellent. These are never cold performances. The players ride the passions of these three works. They play these works not as museum exhibits but as living music. While the Detroit Chamber Trio are not the Beaux Arts their communicative zeal, spirit and technical skills are never in doubt. The tonal riches of violin and the cello stop short of opulence without the listener feeling short-changed. The most arresting example of their playing and exegesis comes in the Andante of the Bonnal (tr. 9).

The excellent notes on the works are by Eduard Perrone. The composers are profiled by Denis Havard de la Montagne.

This recording and its companions at Grotto Productions are invaluable and I hope that there will be more perhaps including the works of Witkowski, Aubert, Ropartz and of course the Piano Quintet (1881) and Piano Trio (1898) by Dallier. And when Fr. Perrone's orchestra have finished their Paray project I hope they will think about dusting off Bonnal's Symphony Media Vita (1932) and his Paysages Euskariens (1930).

Rob Barnett



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