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Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Sonata for cello and piano No.1 in D minor Op.109 (1917) [17:36]
Sonata for cello and piano No.2 in Op.117 (1921) [17:25]
Elegie Op.24 (1880) [6:46]
Papillon Op.77 (1884) [3:15]
Berceuse Op.16 (1879) [3:38]
Romance Op.69 (1894) [4:14]
Sicilienne Op.78 (1898) [3:52]
Après un reve Op.7/1 (1878) [3:19]
Serenade Op.98 (1908) [3:01]
Maria Kliegel (cello)
Nina Tichman (piano)
rec. Deutschland Kammermusiksaal, Cologne, December 2005
NAXOS 8.557889 [63:06]
Experience Classicsonline

The Cello sonatas lag behind their string cousins for violin in the Fauré discography and also on the recital platform. It’s the earlier Violin Sonata that holds the palm but the Cello Sonatas’ relative effacement is in no way commensurate with their status or their lyric memorability. Good performances on disc are not so commonplace that we should spurn a fine newcomer. And if one tires of holding up that long-term favourite, the Tortelier/Hubeau [Elatus 0927490122] from the 1960s, then there are other more recent standard-bearers.
Into the bargain price bracket comes this Naxos entrant – low of price but measuring very well in terms of executant perception and technical dexterity as one would expect by now of the Kliegel-Tichman team. I like Kliegel’s approach to the First Sonata. She is more digitally eloquent than Lodéon in his old EMI recording [re-released on 5852792] with Jean Philippe Collard and her tone has a broader range of colours than his. Sometimes ones feels her expressive gestures just a shade forced however, just a little gestural. In the slow movement she’s much quicker and less overtly romanticised than Lodéon for example; again though a few finger position changes sound too scrupulously prepared. In all hers is a slightly aloof performance, brisk in the finale, her tone more concentrated and cored than Lodéon or Tortelier.
In the Second Sonata we find Kliegel keen to stress the active, passionate extroversion of the writing; keen, really, to avoid the suspicion of over-lingering romanticism. In the search her tone in this work can tend to be a touch unvaried. The movement that suffers the most is the over-loud, over-declamatory playing in the Andante. And it’s here that the limits of this performance can be felt – where that famously elusive late-Fauré idiom evades the new pairing.
The selection of smaller pieces is engagingly played however. There’s noble reserve in the Elegie and playful rubati in the Sicilienne. Après un reve is refined, a word one can use to describe the recital as a whole. It’s a good one though not a comprehensively good one.
Jonathan Woolf


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