Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Concerto for Piano, Violin, Cello and Orchestra in C major, Op. 56 (1803-04)
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 102 (1887) [33:39]
Devy Erlih (violin); Guy Fallot (cello); Monique Fallot (piano)
Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra/Ernest Bour
rec. May 1956 (Beethoven) and 1957 (Brahms)
FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR269 [65:48]
The big LP labels in the 1950s had their elite soloists on whom to draw for
these works; Oistrakh, Fournier, Knushevitzky and Oborin are four of the biggest
names, still resonant, still frequently reissued, who essayed either or both
of these works for EMI. But what if you were a director at Ducretet-Thomson
in Paris? You could hardly call on Oistrakh, or Stern, or Rostropovich. Thus
they called on the home roster of young and aspiring and as yet little known
musicians. Indeed they are still little known. Violinist Devy Erlih, cellist
Guy Fallot and his sister, pianist Monique Fallot are the unsung heroes of this
disc, joined by the rather better known Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
under conductor Ernest Bour. At almost the same time that EMI was recording
Oistrakh and his colleagues, Erlih and his colleagues were recording the same
works for the local French label.
I’ve written quite a lot about Erlih, whose recent death has not, as yet,
made much of a mark Fortunately, Forgotten Records had been releasing some of
his none-too-extensive legacy well before that event, and one can draw on their
intelligently chosen programme of reissues. Guy Fallot is less well known than
Erlih. He was born in Nancy in 1927, studied in Lausanne, later taking the distinguished
first prize in Paul Bazelaire’s class in Paris in 1946. He taught in Lausanne
and Geneva. His chamber partner in the 1950s was his sister, though in later
years he paired up with Rita Possa. He made a disc of Jindřich Feld’s
Concerto and as late as 2008 was recording the Brahms sonatas. As far as I know
he is still alive.
The Brahms Double sees the two string soloists forwardly balanced. Both are
direct players, Fallot the gruffer toned. The music is cannily negotiated by
Bour, and whilst the results are neither as visceral nor as intense as others
(Stern/Rose, Heifetz/Feuermann) it’s well gauged expressively. The quicksilver
passagework of the finale is brought out by Erlih, in particular, and so too
moments that sound positively Dvořákian from the orchestral perspective;
the work must have left a real impression on the Bohemian composer.
The Beethoven Triple Concerto, with the addition of Monique Fallot, is another
cogent, though perhaps rather less consistently good recording. Again Bour provides
a fine framework and the orchestra supports well. The trio performs with commendable
and collegiate spirit, and there’s a chamber give and take about things
that contrasts with more big-boned performances on disc. Once again the soloists
are quite upfront.
I’m not aware that these two performances have been commercially available
since they were deleted on LP.
Cogent readings in good recordings.