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Edgar Moreau (cello)
Pierre-Yves Hodique (piano)
rec. September 2013, Salle Colonne, Paris, Eglise protestante Saint-Pierre
ERATO 2564 636958 [72:43]

What’s so admirable about young French cellist Edgar Moreau’s recital is its expressive restraint, its tactful mediation between extrovert and withdrawn qualities in the music performed. The silver medal winner at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 2011, when he was still a teenager, prefers a nuanced and refined approach to a generic series of gestures and this articulacy gives the programme a sense of cohesion, a genuine point of view that augurs well for his future.
A selection of small pieces, some arrangements, almost all from the cellistic heartland, may seem like an over-cautious way of entering the recording market, but these are pieces that Moreau has performed often and with which he feels comfortable. Ably abetted by Pierre-Yves Hodique he performs them admirably. He plays Monti’s naughty evergreen with excellent freedom in the bowing arm and absolute precision; the ethos is not excessive, not vamped, but the music is not under-played either. It retains its wit. Salut d’amour is refined, fat-free, and followed by a virtuosic and ultra-communicative Paganini Variations on one string, one of the few overtly finger-busting items in the 17-strong selection, but enough to show what Moreau can do when the occasion demands. Glazunov’s beautiful Chant du ménéstrel is played with a centred tone and great sympathy whilst the dextrous delights of Rostropovich’s Humoresque are met head-on, where Moreau’s bow dazzles with its rapidity and accuracy and tone colours glow.
His Dvořák Waldesruhe is much slower than Rostropovich’s own recording of it, which points to another attribute that Moreau possesses, which is an avoidance of speed for its own sake. He is notably good at the song arrangements – Poulenc, Saint-Saëns – where Hodique also explores chances to reveal his cultivated pianism. And whilst I’d sometimes quibble at the programming sequence – to follow Tchaikovsky’s Valse sentimentale with Massenet’s Mélodie-Élegie is rather too much of a good thing - there’s no doubting the lyrical warmth vested in them both. Reserved in Schubert, where his tone production is sophisticated and tactful, his Chopin Introduction and Polonaise brillante makes an excellent close. Only during Bloch’s Prayer did I feel a want of genuine expressive intensity, but he clearly sees the climax of the phraseology toward the end of the work, and refuses to give too much too soon, which is fair enough.
This splendid recital, so astutely recorded, serves notice of a singular talent.
Jonathan Woolf
Track listing

Vittorio MONTI (1868-1922)
Csárdás [4:49]
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Salut d'amour, Op. 12 [2:53]
Niccolò PAGANINI (1782-1840)
Variations on one string on a theme from Rossini's Mosè in Egitto [6:49]
Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936)
Chant du ménéstrel, Op. 71 [3:53]
Mstislav ROSTROPOVICH (1927-2007)
Humoresque, Op. 5 [2:05]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Élégie in C minor, Op. 24 [6:32]
Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Waldesruhe, Op. 68/5 [5:40]
Francis POULENC (1899-1963)
Les chemins de l'amour [3:25]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Samson et Dalila; Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix [5:58]
Jean FRANÇAIX (1912-1997)
Mouvement perpetuel [2:11]
Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Valse sentimentale, Op. 51/6 [2:26]
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
Pièces de genre, Op. 10; No. 5. Melodie. Élegie des érinnyes [1:44]
David POPPER (1843-1913)
Elfentanz, Op. 39 [2:50]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Ave Maria, Op. 52/6 [4:09]
Christoph Willibald von GLUCK (1714-1787)
Dance of the Blessed Spirits; Orfeo ed Eurydice [3:15]
Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959)
Prayer: From Jewish Life [4:47]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1809-1847)
Introduction et Polonaise brillante in C major, Op. 3 [9:07]